What do these words have in common: cathedraticum, dicastery, juridic, quinquennial, Referendary, Signatura, and vindicative

The Canonical Defender, Prof. Peters, at his excellent blog In The Light Of The Law, has this fun post:

Taking Microsoft to canon law school

This has never happened to me.

I’m typing away on a canon law paper, just as I’ve done scads of times before, when up pops a message from Microsoft Spell Checker. The message said something like “Microsoft has noticed an unusual number of words in your writing that are not part of the Speller Checker Program. Please review the list of unusual words that Microsoft has noticed and, if you want, click here to send these words anonymously to Microsoft for consideration for inclusion in future editions of Microsoft Speller Checker.”

Some of my unusual words were: cathedraticum, dicastery, juridic, quinquennial, Referendary, Signatura, and vindicative. Anyway, the message looked legit, so I figured, what the heck, and sent them in.

Here’s hoping that by doing so I’ll eventually save some poor blokes out there needless worry over spelling these terms correctly and maybe, along the way, broaden the horizons of some software programmer!

Update, 26 Aug: It happened again, this time for words like delictual, dimissorial, and sanated.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Charles E Flynn says:

    The official solution from the people who brought you the problem:

    Add words to your spell check dictionary.

  2. Random Friar says:

    I’ve had to add more than a few words to my Word dictionary, mostly doing with odd names and places from the Bible, and a few theological or biblical terms (e.g., “johannine,” “filioque,” “Theotokos” ).

    Of course, when it coincides with a secular use, no problem. (E.g., “Nimrod.”)

  3. T’was fun. This not just, btw, an add-it-to-MY-dictionary message——–it’s a please-send-these-words-to-Microsoft-for-THEIR-dictionary message. :) edp.

  4. Charles E Flynn says:

    I suspect that the size of the dictionary supplied to everyone has to be weighed against the loss of performance that results if the dictionary is too large. There are probably custom dictionaries for various disciplines available for download.

    I happened to come across this article while trying to determine whether the words in Microsoft’s Encarta are included in the supplied dictionary:

    Who Checks the Spell-Checkers?, by Chris Wilson.

  5. APX says:

    I just don’t understand why there is no Canadian dictionary so I can spell words like colour, honour, neighbour, etc without them being underlined.

  6. Charles E Flynn says:

    Check to see if this Microsoft support article from August 15, 2005 is applicable to current versions of Word:
    English Spelling Dictionary Contains US and UK Spellings .

  7. GOR says:

    It doesn’t even have to be ‘technical’ terms. My pet peeve is that whenever I type ‘episcopal’ it invariably gets ‘corrected’ to Episcopal…

  8. They look like fun, swell words. Clearly I am not the intended audience. If so, Prof. Peters might take note of this ad seeking candidates with “fluency in laity.”

  9. Re: Canadian version — If you change your language for the whole computer from “English-US” to “English-UK”, you can spell and spellcheck your words the Canadian way. You may be able to change them just for Word, but I don’t know.

  10. Apparently you can, and it’s usually something along the lines of Tools/Language/Set Language, or on the Start menu under Microsoft Office Tools, Microsoft Office Language Setting.

  11. BobP says:

    I was reading somewhere that in the first draft of the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote “honour” but that was “corrected” by those who wanted to stick with the Latin “honor” instead. Latin seems to have influenced the writing on the U.S. Dollar Bill as well. Will “Annuit Coeptis” pass your spell-checker? If not, throw it out. :)

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