13

Are truefully and truthfully essentially the same?

Does one have an implication, intonation, or standard use that the other does not?

I know from Oxford's online dictionary that trueful is an actual word. However I can't tell if it has a history, or if they've included it due to common use (or perhaps misuse?)

  • 1
    Well, the explanation that it's from Middle English (1150–1470) would imply some sort of history. – Andrew Leach Oct 9 '17 at 22:46
  • 31
    Most people would think that truefully was a typo, and would want to correct it to truthfully. That includes my spell checker! – Simon B Oct 9 '17 at 22:51
  • 2
    "The wheel spins because of its truefulness". ??? – Carl Oct 10 '17 at 0:38
  • 1
    @Carl a wheel is true when it forms a perfect circle without deformations. When is a wheel considered true? – Pureferret Oct 10 '17 at 12:05
  • 3
    I think trueful should be revived as a portmanteau of true and rueful, to be used for describing the regretful expression of a fact. – nekomatic Oct 10 '17 at 12:09
41

The OED says trueful is rare; it says truefully is obsolete. The first, the OED notes, was formed in English (c. 1325) from "true" (meaning faithful in the sense in which we use it today with reference to, for example, romantic relationships).

The primary definition of trueful in the OOD (to which you link) is "loyal, faithful", which is of course different from "honest," the basic meaning of truthful. Thus they are in no way "essentially the same" or "interchangeable."

| improve this answer | |
16

"Trueful" may be in a dictionary, but it is a very very very unusual word (I don't remember ever having encountered it, and I've certainly never said it).

GloWbE, the corpus of Global Web-based English, has precisely 4 instances of "trueful" and 4 of "truefully". Contrast that with 8608 for "truthful" and 3920 for "truthfully".

I strongly suspect it is a mishearing of "truthful", but it may have entered some people's normal language.

| improve this answer | |

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.