0

When I search for the word overseee in Google books, almost all links are typos of the verb to oversee, which in itself looks amazing to me. (Books rarely have such silly typos.) And only one reference among hundreds there is for the meaning I expected. (see subject)

So does the word overseee actually mean the opposite of overseer?

And the secondary question is what makes people to mistype this particular word so frequently? I search like that a lot, and usually a search for some typo doesn't fetch that many results like that. OED and Merriam-Webster don't have this word.

7
  • 2
    I would use "overseen" if I needed the opposite of "overseer". "Overseee" leaves me asea.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 20, 2015 at 3:23
  • 1
    I will not accept any word with three consecutive e's as English. Oct 20, 2015 at 3:35
  • I can only find one other word with three trailing e's: skweee en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skweee Oct 20, 2015 at 3:57
  • 1
    It could simply be a particularly difficult typo for proofreaders to spot.
    – JHCL
    Oct 20, 2015 at 8:11
  • 1
    'overseee' is not a word. Or rather it would only be perceived as a humorous nonceword. '-ee' is a foreignism and isn't necessarily productive in English. By analogy you could use it with anything but that doesn't mean anybody else has or that it will sound good.
    – Mitch
    Oct 20, 2015 at 15:06

1 Answer 1

1

No, it does not. Though it is not an explicit rule, there is a very strong convention against triple letter words in English. In fact, there are only about twenty such words (eg. See this stub).

The word you're looking for is "overseen". Eg, the overseee is the overseen.

6
  • The convention can't be all that strong, or really a convention at all, if I can spend a whole life on this planet without ever so much as hearing about it. Are you sure it exists? You yourself have provided examples to the contrary. I am most very confused right now.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 20, 2015 at 10:34
  • @RegDwigнt - It is worth noting that all of the examples are either onomatopoeia, proper names, or suffixed words (and only 3 distinct variations of those). English does not like triple letters. (In part I suspect that this is purely practical -- triple letters (especially with, eg, "eee") are hard to accurately read and transcribe.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 20, 2015 at 12:23
  • @HotLicks you say that like there's a wealth of languages out there that do like triple letters. Care to name a hundred or so? Because otherwise that's a rather pointless thing to say, innit. Russian has more words than English but exactly one with three consecutive Еs: длинношеее. Clearly, by comparison, English is clinically obsessed with trippling its Es.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 20, 2015 at 12:37
  • @RegDwigнt - Well, I don't know any Russian, Chinese, or Hindu. I know a smattering of Spanish and just a touch of Norwegian. I chose to write about what I know. Do you have an objection to that?
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 20, 2015 at 17:12
  • @RegDwigнt given that there are about 250,000 non-specialized words in the English language, and of those, only about 20 (that's 0.008%) include the same letter three times, it is self-evident that the convention exist. That you are not aware of it is irrelevant -- 'convention' means 'the way in which something is usually done'. Oct 20, 2015 at 23:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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