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In Stephen King's The Jaunt, I found this sentence:

Five Jaunt attendants circulate, speaking in low, cherry voices and offering glasses of milk.

It's either a typo (was supposed to be 'cheery') or something I don't understand. Can anyone think of an idea?

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  • Have you checked another edition/version of the story to see if it's the same? Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 22:09
  • "Cherry" may describe their timbre, while "cheery" their tone. I would suppose that attendants are supposed to be unobstrusive, not mood makers. Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 22:30
  • 1
    Cherry/virginal/young/sweet? Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 22:42
  • 2
    Yes, most likely a typo.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 23:01
  • @Lambie Think so? Sure looks to me like it always been this way.
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 1:32

2 Answers 2

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Yes, this seems to be a typo in some editions or online versions. This PDF of the book, from a Maine school district, has the line:

Five Jaunt attendants circulated, speaking in low, cheery voices and offering glasses of milk.

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    That link leads to a "we have moved" page. What is the date of this edition?
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 5:32
  • Same here, the link tells me the website has moved, the new website (Brunswick High School) there is no discernible link to the pdf. Besides how reputable is a Highschool website to claim "cherry" is a typo?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 7:58
  • It's probably the same pdf circulating on the Internet but I don't see any of the nine results that say "cheery".
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 8:01
  • @Peter Sorry, screwed up the link.
    – alphabet
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 18:17
  • The new link shows it is a Signet edition, published by Penguin, this edition first printed 1986. "Cheery' might possibly be a correction of a misprint in OP's copy. Note though, "cherry" is used as an adjective in one other place in this book, in the last few lines of the story Beachworld. Neither "cheery" nor "chary" seem particularly good fits as replacements in either place.
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 20, 2023 at 4:54
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From context, cherry seems to be a typo for chary:

chary adj.
4.a. Careful, cautious, circumspect, wary.
6. Careful not to waste or part with, frugal, sparing (of).
Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

So:

Five Jaunt attendants circulate, speaking in low, careful voices and offering glasses of milk.

The Jaunt, being first published in The Twilight Zone Magazine in 1981 (Wikipedia — The Jaunt), may have been put through a magazine editor who either didn’t correct King, or over-corrected him.

You can hear the pronunciation of chary — which sounds just like cherry — at Cambridge Dictionary — How to pronounce chary.

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  • A typo then. Thanks!
    – obym
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 8:03
  • Only two results for a chary voice but better than none!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 8:05
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    I find chary unlikely in that context. There's no reason for them to be wary (or admonitory) and the meaning "frugal" is obsolescent and it doesn't apply to a voice. Unless it means something like "deliberately sparing of volume"
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 10:24
  • This word does not collocate properly with the context.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 13:22
  • @Lambie — How do low and cheery properly collocate? Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 14:20

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