30-Second Word Whoop: “Clamor”

Consumer demand for the 32GB iPhone 4S is high, but that doesn’t mean crowds are clamoring.

People aren’t necessarily “clamoring” for the iPhone 4S – unless gadget-hungry hordes test sexy Siri all at once.

“Clamor” usually involves noise or implied noise, as in a “public outcry,” “hubbub.” Yet writers erroneously use “clamor” to refer to jostling or flocking.

Don’t make me scream.

You might be confused with the word “clamber,” denoting a tough, clumsy climb. Even looks like “climb,” so it’s easy to remember: Gear-laden grunts clambered up the hill.

If people were clambering for the iPhone, I’d be concerned for those at the bottom of the pile.

Consumers may indeed be clamoring for the release of the iPhone 5, disappointed over its delay. But before stampeding to use “clamor,” gauge the VU meter of public opinion and emotion. If the authorities would clamp down on them, folks are likely clamoring.

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About Terry Byrne

Writer-editor with deep reservations about holding her tongue. Fan of both nature and nurture. Lifelong fascination with gender studies, sexuality, music and brainpower.

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