I read a lot. I occasionally see "oaken" used to describe something made out of oak. It's used more frequently in historical or romantic fiction. Does common usage make it right?
closed as off-topic by Kris, Ronan, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Fattie, Robusto Sep 13 '14 at 12:10
This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:
- "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Kris, Ronan, Janus Bahs Jacquet, Fattie, Robusto
Of course it does. That's what makes a term right -- a general consensus that it's OK to use a particular term in a particular way, as demonstrated by people's actual linguistic practice.
In other words, usage (not ex-cathedra pronouncements and prescriptions from academicians and self-appointed 'experts') is the ultimate arbiter of rightness.
Getting back to 'oaken':
"The -en suffix is used to form adjectives of source or material from nouns, e.g. ashen, golden, oaken."
(Explanation of -en from The Random House Dictionary of the English Language, 1993.)