I keep seeing the word singular used to mean “single”. This is augmentation disease. Singular has two meanings, neither of which is “single”. With reference to grammar, it expresses number, and is the alternative to plural, as in “Das is a singular article in German.” Otherwise, it means “unusual”, “odd”, “peculiar”, as in “Uncle Jim is a singular old fellow.”
I wrote recently about the verb, to gift. Today I was looking for some nail clippers on the Web, and I saw that Henkels’s fabulously overpriced manicure kits come in a “giftable” box. That seems to be adspeak for “suitable for putting a gift in”, not merely “givable”.
I just observe. I don’t try to stop the headlong plummet.
Now is as good a time as any to talk about this. It is fashionable, especially in the business world, to talk about “mentees” and the “mentor-mentee relationship”. Some ignoramus heard somebody call another person “my Mentor”, figured there must be a verb, *to ment or *to mentate, or something, meaning “what a mentor does”, and decided that if one person can be a mentor, his or her protégée must be a mentee. That would be fine if mentor were an agent noun. We have other agent-patient pairs for the doer and the recipient of some action: mortgagor (which should be spelt mortgagior, as it’s pronounced, but isn’t) and mortgagee, vendor and vendee, and so on.
But Mentor is not an agent noun. Mentor is a character in the Odyssey, who advises and guides Odysseus’s son, Telemachus. To call somebody, “my Mentor” is to employ a metaphor. To call somebody “my mentee” is to employ a solecism.
The bird looked like a hybrid well-known among birders, called the Brewster’s warbler, which is a mix between the golden-winged and blue-winged warbler. But it sang like a bird from a different genus, called the chestnut-sided warbler, and had a twinge of the chestnut-sided’s signature red patch on its side.
Ryan F. Mandelbaum, DNA Testing Reveals Baffling Bird Is Three Species In One, Gizmodo Australia, 10 November 2018
A twinge is a sudden, sharp pain. A little bit of color (or of flavor, or of some other property) is a tinge. This is the second time in a month in which I’ve seen twinge used for tinge in the press. Who cares? They’re almost the same!