Not the right word…

November 7, 2011

5.6 magnitude Oklahoma quake causes some damage

In Prague, Oklahoma, where the earlier quake was centered, City Manager Jim Greff said the latest tremblor caused a chimney to topple over and crash through the roof of a home.

The correct word is “temblor,” NOT “tremblor.” “Tremblor” SEEMS as if it would be appropriate, because the ground does tremble. Nevertheless, “tremblor” is wrong and “temblor” is right.

Charles R.

You are correct, “temblor” was the word we wanted.

Tremblor seems to be creeping into the language, and I even find it in an online thesaurus as a synonym for temblor, but I also find this advice on a language site:

Earthquake experts call each vibration produced by an earthquake a “temblor,” derived from the Spanish word for “tremble.” It’s not surprising that many people turn this word into “tremblor,” but journalists and others who may have experts among their readers would be wise to stick with “temblor.” GBU Editor

The readout on a seismograph drum shows two quakes that hit the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch is seen in this June 13, 2011 handout photo. REUTERS/GeoNet/Handout

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