Of course, the burning question that occurs to Wordlady and her many followers is:
"How is stupor spelled? If Rob Ford is Canadian, shouldn't he be in a drunken stupour rather than a drunken stupor?"
Apparently that is what the publisher of the Toronto Star, John Cruickshank, thinks in an article published November 6, How do you cover a deceiver without reporting mistruth?: "Ford says he tried crack once while in a drunken stupour."
But "stupor" is one of those words that is never spelled with an -our. Unlike the words we do spell with an -our ending (colour, labour, etc.), which stopped off in French before they landed in English, "stupor" came into English directly from its Latin origin, stupor (the etymology for which in the OED is "see stupid", and I bet the OED lexicographers don't even know Rob Ford). Both words come from the verb stupere (be stunned or benumbed).
We Canadians tend to hypercorrect such words, changing -or to -our just in case someone might -- shock, horror, or do I mean horrour -- mistake us for Americans. But our hypercorrection is incorrect. Stupor is the correct spelling (as is horror).
For the full story on why the British and most Canadians use -our endings while Americans use -or, see this post.
Do you want to know more about the amazing story of the English language? Sign up for my course starting in January 2014. More info here.
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