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.

Is "circa" the best word to write, or is it "around"?

Maybe another word would be more appropriate.

share|improve this question
I think this got ticked down because it's general reference, but I would argue that it's a fair question considering how specialized the word "circa" is. –  tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 21:03
add comment

1 Answer

Circa is Latin, around is English. Latin words falute higher than English ones.

So the decision is yours. Are you going to maintain an elevated scholarly tone throughout? Consistency is part of that; once you elevate your prose, readers are more likely to notice when you fail to maintain it than if you're more informal.

Who are your readers and how do you want them to react? That's always the first question. An answer to that will determine many other things about what you write.

EDIT: It occurs to me ex post posting that in the case of the Academy, circa can only be a mark of high falution, because the Academy was founded in Greece, and never used Latin.

share|improve this answer
I think that's the first time I've ever seen a verb form of highfalutin, but I'm quite taken with it. It's definitely a useful word for some contexts on ELU. –  FumbleFingers Dec 15 '12 at 18:54
I'll keep that in mind. Thank you! –  user31669 Dec 15 '12 at 20:08
I think using "falute" is the definition of "to falute". –  tylerharms Dec 15 '12 at 21:00
It usually enhances the cromulence, that's true. –  John Lawler Dec 15 '12 at 21:18
add comment

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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