This week’s word discovery proves that even very complacent dogs (so to speak) can occasionally learn new tricks.
The other day I was travelling on the London Underground, having managed to get on the train at the very front. During the frequent delays (sigh), I distracted myself by reading the advertisements and signs around me. My attention was drawn to this small plaque on the door separating the driver’s compartment from the rest of the train:
Why, I wondered, did the sign say ‘admittance’ rather than ‘admission’? Was London Underground just trying to sound especially official by using this slightly unusual term? And was ‘admittance’ even a real word rather than yet another ghastly example of 21st century Human Resources-speak?
As soon as I got home I consulted my trusty dictionary. Somewhat to my chagrin, the answer proved to be yes: admittance is indeed a real word, and one which isn’t exactly synonymous with ‘admission’. It means the physical act of entering a place or institution as distinct from, say, achieving membership of the same. A fine distinction but an important one, as I’m sure you’ll agree.