Pet Scribbles: Is it Fuchsia or Fuschia?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is it Fuchsia or Fuschia?

Fuchsia and Plum Acrylic Bubble Magnets | © Pet Scribbles

So there I was last night, diligently working on uploading my new acrylic bubble magnet sets onto Etsy. I had just spent quite some time editing the photos for each listing, and now I was ready to enter in the data - titles, descriptions, etc. When I got to the magnet set pictured above, I was part way through typing the first word in the title, like this:
F - u - s - c - h...

Wait, was that right? How's that darn word spelled again? Was it fuschia or fuchsia??
I had typed this word numerous times, so why was I getting myself so confused?

A quick search on Google didn't immediately help, as all it did was show me how many others are just as confused by the spelling. I'll spare you all the reading I did to get to the bottom of this mystery - which included consulting my husband who is a lover of etymology and just happened to have his Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology handy - and just do you the favor of providing the answer:

Fuchsia

Fuchsia plant, from The Magazine of Botany published by Joseph Paxton
16 volumes between 1834 and 1849

Most of us know this word by either the flowering plant or by the color hue itself. The word originated when the flower was discovered in the 1700s, and the botanist who made the discovery named the flower after a well-known German botanist Leonardo Fuchs. Thus, the word fuchsia.

Now I have an easy way to remember the word: "Fuchs" with an "ia" tacked onto the end. Problem solved!

Or is it?

I went to Etsy to do a search on both the correct and incorrect spellings of the word, and found some surprising results:

Fuchsia (correct spelling) - produced almost 27,000 listings across all three of Etsy's main categories (handmade, vintage, and supplies).

Fuschia (incorrect spelling) - produced 19,000+ listings across all of Etsy's three main categories.

What does this tell us? Well, after spending time on Google, with the incorrect spelling showing up on many reputable websites, plus seeing how Google seems to recognize that the incorrect spelling actually seems to mean the correct spelling - thus providing search results with both spellings mixed in - I guess that fuschia has become an accepted incorrect form of the word fuchsia.

So where do you stand? Were you spelling fuchsia correctly? Are you surprised at how many people are using the incorrect spelling? Do you like the shade?

Let me know know your thoughts!

~Laura

28 comments:

  1. I love the flower, and have always spelled it correctly (in my mind--don't know how many times I've actually written it out). I struck poodle collector gold on eBay once by searching for 1950s poddle. A friend told me to try spelling things wrong. That one just baffles me, though. Okay, kids, stay in school!

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    1. That's a great point Laurie! I learned from fellow Etsy sellers that it is a good idea to include alternate and common incorrect spellings as tags in product listings. I have done that with words like "grey" and "gray" or "lavender" and "lavendar" - but - your "poddle" find reminds me to go back and include both versions of fuchsia in my magnet listing. Thanks! :)

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  2. I'm afraid most people mispronounce Fuchsia which undoubtedly facilitates misspelling

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    1. Now this is a new one for me, MCatherine. I haven't heard this word mispronounced before. I've only ever heard "fyou-shuh" so far. Which way(s) have you heard it? (This is when we need an "auto record" button for these comments. LOL)

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  3. Laura - you have me on the floor! LOL thank you for making me think and laugh all at once ... OH BTW I use the correct version. So... which one is that again? :) :D ;)

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    1. Wow Anna - I made you laugh and think all at once? I'm gooooood! LOL I have a feeling that even though I finally looked up the correct spelling and wrote this post, I will still be double-checking myself on this word the rest of my life. :)

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  4. Hi there! I just happened here through some searching.... I know it's a long time since you posted your query, but I can give you this answer...

    The name of the German botanist who named this plant genus was Leonhart Fuchs, and so then in normal taxonomic format, the plant was called Fuchsia. It is in fact correctly pronounced FOOKS-EE-AH, however common English usage has seen it transform to FEW-SHA.

    :-D

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    1. Thanks Kaz! I wrote something similar in my post above, and appreciate you stopping by to dig down deeper! Funny how the pronunciation has changed over the years!

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  5. hmm great post i misspell it every time and it drives me bonkers bc it's my fav color!! lol

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    1. It was driving me bonkers too - so I had to write a post about it! :)

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  6. Lovely post! Thank you for doing all of the work for me. I noticed the two different spellings on google and searched two links before I found yours <3

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    1. And THAT is the problem: there's way too many "official" places out there on the interwebs that have fuchsia spelled wrong, so it makes it even harder to figure it out. Glad I could help!

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  7. Hooray! I had shut down my computer for the morning when my mother asked me how to spell...ummm fuchsia, I thought it was spelled fuschia, and she thought it was fuchsia. So, being me, I turned the computer back on and entered: 'fuchsia' into the search....and thought I had been vindicated by the large list...but then I looked closer and noted it gave me both spellings...so then I entered 'fuschia or fuchsia?'...and yours was the first on the list. You, having consulted someone like me, who likes words, and constantly looks them and their derivations up, saved me from having to go any further. Thanks for doing the leg work.

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  8. I use the incorrect or newly accepted spelling.

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    1. Thanks for weighing in Carlene! I used to use that spelling as well, but ever since researching this, I just can't get "Dr. Fuchs" out of my head each time I need to spell the word! LOL

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  9. I just found this blog while doing a google search for the spelling of fuchsia! So I referenced it on my own blog post today about beautiful flowers - http://bit.ly/10zsYIh - thanks for doing the research for me!

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    1. Glad I could help, Sue! And I love those tiny little flower gems you shared on your blog too!

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  10. Will always remember this, now. Fuchs-ia. The etymology is what registers, for me.

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    1. Glad to provide a way to remember the spelling! I always remember Mr. Fuchs!

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  11. Laura,

    Catching up on your posts now. This word confuses me so much that I just let spell check correct for me every time. A word that I have personal misspelled (without realizing that I did) and I see almost every day being misspelled is mantel. I have seen many a blogger spell it as mantle. I did too for almost a full yr into blogging without even realizing that it was a totally different word when you spell it that way. One day, as I was reading the comment section on another blog someone brought this up! I Googled the word and sure enough had it wrong the whole time! The project for that week was going back and fixing every reference of "mantle" on my blog!

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    1. LOL Glad I could help! Mantel versus mantle is another good one! (And yes, I've seen many bloggers get that one wrong too!)

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  12. Fuchsia is a word played in the beginning of the movie Akerman and the Bee when she played Scrabble.

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    1. I can see why it's a good Scrabble word! :)

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  14. Thank you for clearing this up for me! I was getting confused!

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    1. You're welcome! Now that I always think of "Dr. Fuchs" - when in doubt of the correct spelling - I'm good to go! Glad I could help!

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  15. I learned how to spell this off of a bubble bath bottle back in 1999... But now I see that the bottle had the misspelled version... On the bottle it said Fuschia... It makes one wonder.

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