endearing or enduring?
Out of the corner of my ear I heard someone being interviewed on the radio who used endearing when they must have meant enduring. Since this was in an interview I thought it might have just been a slip of the tongue, one of those weird things that happen when our brains are overstretched and miss a gear.
The difference in meaning between these two words is quite clear. Endearing means ‘charming’, enduring means ‘long-lasting’. Neither word is in a remote part of our vocabulary I would have thought. Enduring is slightly harder to say and if I say it very quickly a number of times I might end up with something like [en-djeer-ing] which could slide into endearing.
I was surprised by the mix-up, so I went in search of examples and, sure enough, there are many endearing legacies on the internet. Now it is possible that the two words occupy the same spot. We may possibly, at a stretch, talk about an endearing legacy and mean one that makes us feel all warm and affectionate. But I think it is more likely that the legacy is enduring. The writer I found on the internet who wrote for children may have left an endearing legacy but later in the article the emphasis is on the fact that the stories are timeless and will live forever. It is even clearer that a professor of biology left an enduring rather than an endearing legacy. Fond of biology as I am, I would never describe it as endearing.
Have you noticed the endearing/enduring confusion?