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Regiment v. Regimen

red61544

Pet peeve. A lot of editors seem to miss the difference between regiment and regimen. A regiment usually consists of three battalions led by a Colonel! A regimen is an orderly, consistent way of doing things: "His exercise regimen consisted of a five mile run and thirty minutes of weight lifting." or "The doctor prescribed a regimen of antibiotics and bed rest." I think a regiment of antibiotics would be way too much!

Switch Blayde

@red61544

I thought members of the Regi tribe attached to a regiment were called regimen.

Replies:   richardshagrin  red61544
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Subsequent times after the first time you gimen, you are re-gimen.

GImen may not be a verb. GI was "government issue" so GIs were soldiers.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

GI was "government issue" so GIs were soldiers.


Actually, the GI in reference to soldiers is General Infantry (as apposed to cavalry, artillery, or some other MOS*).

* MOS = Military Occupational Specialty

red61544

@Switch Blayde

Switch, that's almost as bad as "I cried when he left because Regi Meant so much to me!"

Dicrostonyx

@red61544

A lot of editors seem to miss the difference between regiment and regimen.


While I tend to agree with you that an author should keep these two words separate, unfortunately the usage isn't quite as distinct as you suggest. From Dictionary.com, quoting Random House 2016:


noun
1. Military. a unit of ground forces, consisting of two or more battalions or battle groups, a headquarters unit, and certain supporting units.

2. Obsolete. government.

verb (used with object)
3. to manage or treat in a rigid, uniform manner; subject to strict discipline.

4. to form into a regiment or regiments.

5. to assign to a regiment or group.

6. to form into an organized group, usually for the purpose of rigid or complete control.


In other words, as often happens, the military usage of "regiment" is a jargon term; in casual usage the word regiment also has meaning almost identical to "regimen", which is itself a jargon term from the medical field.

You could compare this to the difference between "gun" or "boat" in common usage. In the Navy, a "boat" goes on a "ship". In the infantry, a "gun" refers to field artillery, soldiers carry "rifles" or "pistols".

So when writing military or medical fiction, the distinction between "regimen" and "regiment" should probably be observed, but in general fiction, regiment is fine with either meaning.

By the way, I checked the words in the OED. The meaning of regiment as "control over oneself" actually predates the military usage (1483), and in the medical sense as early as 1425; the shift to regimen for the latter usage began in 1525, while the military definition doesn't show up until 1617.

So basically it looks like the split between regimen and regiment happened for the specific fields, but never fully occured in general usage.

Replies:   sejintenej
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

I also suspect the misuse of regimen and regiment are more due to their looking nearly identical, rather than editors and authors not knowing the difference. It's hard to miss a single letter in a 70,000 word document, even if you read it multiple times. That's why it's best to have multiple readers checking for typos. Each picks up different mistakes which one person can't uncover on their own.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Is using a different word that the one with the meaning desired a typographical error (aka typo)? Teh for The is a typo. Sue for Use may be a typo. Principle for Principal is a homonym error.

I had considered a Typo as an error in how a manuscript was typed. Are punctuation errors typos? Capitalization errors? Can there be mistakes to be corrected in a manuscript that are not typos? This is a real question I am not certain of the answer. Maybe typo is a broader category than I thought.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

Is using a different word that the one with the meaning desired a typographical error (aka typo)? Teh for The is a typo. Sue for Use may be a typo. Principle for Principal is a homonym error.

What I meant is that what you see as the improper word might have been overlooked because they're so similar (i.e. it's not due to an improper understanding, but to it's not being noticed).

Although the various errors fit into different categories, often homonyms are misused because typing too fast substitutes one for the other (it essentially becomes a 'type' since it was mistypes, rather than the author chose the wrong word).

Errors can fill more than a single category.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin


I had considered a Typo as an error in how a manuscript was typed.


I regard a typo as any error that occurs between what I think I'm typing and what appears on the page - most of the time it's letters in the wrong order, sometimes it's the letter beside the one I meant to type, and sometimes it's because what I typed never made it past the fingers - hit the keys too lightly and it won't appear.

Dicrostonyx

@richardshagrin

I had considered a Typo as an error in how a manuscript was typed.


While that's certainly the origin of the term, I'd agree with Ernest Bywater. My own way of phrasing it would be that a typo is an error which, when pointed out to the author, will be recognised as a mistake, no explanation necessary.

So if an author writes "the ball bounced of his hand", it's pretty clear that "of" should be "off" or "out of" (depending on the game). But the difference between the past tense and past-perfect, while fairly clear in usage, might have to be explained.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dicrostonyx

So if an author writes "the ball bounced of his hand", it's pretty clear that "of" should be "off" or "out of"


Interestingly, I read the sentence as "on" his hand, not "off"

sejintenej

@Dicrostonyx

noun
1. Military. a unit of ground forces, consisting of two or more battalions or battle groups, a headquarters unit, and certain supporting units.
2. Obsolete. government.
verb (used with object)
3. to manage or treat in a rigid, uniform manner; subject to strict discipline.
4. to form into a regiment or regiments.
5. to assign to a regiment or group.
6. to form into an organized group, usually for the purpose of rigid or complete control.

A difference across the pond; I had never heard use of "regimen" but find that it is a noun so any comparison would be with #1 above. Prior to 1483 ("The meaning of regiment as "control over oneself" actually predates the military usage (1483),) it could have been a verb but no longer.
In today's parlance the two are totally different

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