My version of Microsoft Word automatically changes 'pixelation' to 'pixilation'. That's annoying, but it's also interesting – for three reasons.
1. Word doesn't automatically correct 'pixelate' to 'pixilate'. Why the inconsistency?
2. In contrast to Word, the OED Concise prefers the 'e' spellings; that is, it gives 'pixilate' as a variant of 'pixelate' rather than the other way round. (It gives 'pixellate' as another variant, but doesn't suggest 'pixillate' at all. Shame.)
3. My OED also defines 'pixilated' as "crazy; confused" and "drunk (informal, dated)". It adds: "Origin C19: var. of pixie-led, lit. 'led astry by pixies', or from PIXIE, on the pattern of words such as elated."
So does Microsoft Word change my 'pixelation' because it assumes that I'm writing about pixies rather than pixels? I think the programmers must have been away with the fairies...
Harry Bosch, trainee prescriptivist
3 days ago