peccadillo


a minor weakness

TRANSLATION

peccadillo = das Kavaliersdelikt, eine kleine Sünde, Jugendsünde

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“…today the doctrine of personal accountability justifies stripping political leaders naked. Every PECCADILLO, every lapse from correct expression, becomes a credibility-destroying ‘disgrace’ or ‘shame’.”

Robert Skidelsky - Project Syndicate, ‘Boris Johnson’s Fall - and Ours’ (19 July 2022)

Did you
know?

peccadillo
noun

- a relatively minor fault or sin

- a small fault or mistake, or something that someone does wrong that is not very serious

Oxford Languages / Cambridge Dictionary


WORD ORIGIN

“The world loves a spice of wickedness.” That observation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow may explain why people are so willing to forgive peccadilloes as youthful foolishness or minor lapses of judgment. The willingness to overlook petty faults and minor offenses existed long before English speakers borrowed a modified version of the Spanish pecadillo at the end of the 16th century.

Spanish speakers distinguished the pecadillo, or “little sin”, from the more serious pecado, their term for a sin of magnitude. And these Spanish terms can be traced back still further, to the Latin verb peccare, meaning “to sin”.


“O” DEAR !

“Peccadillos” or “peccadilloes”? How would you pluralise it? Most major dictionaries agree that BOTH plural endings are allowed with this word; but what about other o-ending words?

Where 'o' follows a vowel, the plural generally takes 's', as in:

- bamboos, cameos, embryos, folios, kangaroos, patios, radios, studios, zoos

Where 'o' follows a consonant (it’s a little more complicated) there are 3 classes:

1. Only 'es' is correct: domino, echo, embargo, go, hero, mango, negro, no, potato, tomato, torpedo, veto

2. Both 'os' and 'oes' are correct: archipelago, banjo, buffalo, cargo, dodo, grotto, halo, innuendo, manifesto, proviso, tornado, volcano

3. Only 's' is correct: bistro, calypso, do, dynamo, demo, kilo, memo, photo; nouns of Italian origin: cello, concerto, contralto, libretto, maestro, piano, quarto, solo, soprano, virtuoso; and names of ethnic groups: Chicano, Eskimo, Filipino, Texano


SYNONYMS

- a relatively minor fault or sin

bad behaviour, blunder, boob, breach (of etiquette), bumble, clanger, dropping the ball, dumb move, faux pas, folly, foolish mistake, gaffe, gaucherie, goof, impropriety, indiscreetness, indiscretion, minor lapse (offence, screw-up), misbehaviour, mischievousness, misconduct, miscue, misdeed, misdemeanour, PECCADILLO, petty offence (sin), slight transgression, slip-up, trifling fault, small infraction


SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“Do you prefer to pluralise PECCADILLO with ‘os’ or ‘oes’? Both are correct.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

and,

Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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