Words

millennium, n.
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The Independent Culture
ACCORDING TO an advert in the national press this week: "Many PCs will need costly re-programming at the turn of the millenium". Would you buy a computer from a company that cannot spell millennium?

Its derivation, from the Latin mille, a thousand, and annus, year, should make it quite clear that it has a double "n". Centenary, on the other hand, comes from centenarius, composed of a hundred items, which has nothing to do with annus at all. The good news is that misspelt millennia are on the decrease. In both 1993 and 1994, spellings with one "n" in our database occurred at a rate of 14.4 per cent, but the figure has declined every year since: 9.9 per cent in 1995, 6.5 in 1996, and 5.2 in 1997. So far this year, the rate is 3.2 per cent. Excluding computer adverts.

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