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Gladi’- olus or Glad’-iolus…We Surrender to Rochester

January 10, 2012

From page 80 of January 1876 Issue of  The Gardener’s Monthly and Horticulturist.

Gladiolus—The Pronunciation.

Gladiolus from Vick's Flower & Gardening Guide 1876

A correspondent writes :—”Vick accents the first syllable ; Webster, the second; and those not favored with the perusal of either, the third. Among those who wish to be governed by authority, the question arises: ‘Under which king?’ We were inclined to follow Webster, but examination reveals the fact that he has not followed his own analogy. For he has glad^- iator and glad^- iole both from the same root as gladiolus. So that apart from the consideration of whether Vick is not the higher authority in such things, he certainly has followed what seems to be correct analogy”.  We surrender  to Rochester, while awaiting the decision of the Editor.

Gladi’- olus.” [The analogy is not with its root but with the class to which it belongs. Diminutives have  their penults short, in this respect differing from adjectives which have their penultimae long. The classical pronunciation therefore is gladi’-olus,  that is, ” a little sword.”—Ed. G. M.]

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