A recent discussion arose on how to spell the term "confectionery", as used to refer to a collection/group of sweets. Most people believed it was actually spelled "confectionary". Spellcheck programs suggest only the former spelling is correct. But a quick google to resolve it suggests that these words have two distinct meanings:
- Confectionery is the act of making chocolates. To confect something.
- Confectionary refers to a place that sells confections
Which is confusing, but kind of feels right. However, neither word means a group of sweets which is probably the most common way in which this term is actually used. Looking at the above definitions suggests that the proper word for this is simply a plural: confections.
So, when referring to a group of sweets, is it correct to use the term "confectionery"? If so which is the correct spelling, or are both correct? And what's the grammar, etymology at play here?