Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I was interested in the following sentence which appeared in a news article titled “SCIENCE WATCH; PROGRESS IN AIDS DISPUTE” in The New York Times (March 10, 1987).

Dr. Robert Gallo at the cancer institute later isolated the same virus and asserts that his laboratory first demonstrated unequivocably the role of the virus in causing AIDS.

After searching on Oxford Dictionaries, I have found no item for "unequivocably", but I got a lot of hits (139.000) from Google; so I am wondering if "unequivocably" is in common usage nowadays.

Can someone clarify this question? Or is "unequivocably" a common error?

share|improve this question
    
As you said, Google search on unequivocably shows about 139,000 results but below that it says "Did you mean: unequivocally" and searching "unequivocally" shows about 8,880,000 results. –  Wishwas Jun 4 '12 at 12:12
    
What Wishwas said. This is General Reference. –  FumbleFingers Jun 4 '12 at 16:10

1 Answer 1

The correct word is unequivocally. Unequivocably is wrong.

According to Merriam-Webster, unequivocably is a non-standard word for unequivocally. Its first known use was in 1917.

The word (unequivocally) was perhaps altered by drawing an analogy between unequivocal and, say, understand. Understand changes to understandably, so they changed unequivocal to unequivocably. Though, as I said, it's wrong.

share|improve this answer
    
If it's so commonly used, should it still be wrong? English is constantly evolving, let's add another change. –  user30712 Nov 11 '12 at 3:23

protected by RegDwigнt Nov 11 '12 at 3:33

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.