Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-13-2008, 09:01 PM
wonky wonky is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DC area
Posts: 29,867
Is "supremist" a pronunciation difference or a different word?

My husband always says "white supremists" instead of "white supremacists" (strange how often the topic comes up. Eek). Is he using a different word or a different pronunciation of the same word? He swears up and down that "supremist" is a word but I think he might be a bit nuts.

When I look up "supremist" I'm getting results for "supremacist" instead.
Old 10-13-2008, 09:15 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 18,967

Google Fight is giving it as 1,190,000 vs. 99,900

To compare, "there" gets 2,780,000,000 and "thar" gets 17,000,000, for a ratio of 163:1. Supremacist/supremist is at a ratio of 12:1. So it's at least more common than pirate speak, but I wouldn't say that it's anywhere near being as commonly accepted as the proper spelling.
Old 10-14-2008, 01:19 AM
DanBlather DanBlather is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Portland, O-bamagon
Posts: 7,851
Richard Lewis was on Olberman today and used "supremist". Wierd.
Old 10-14-2008, 08:42 AM
wonky wonky is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DC area
Posts: 29,867
Originally Posted by DanBlather View Post
Richard Lewis was on Olberman today and used "supremist". Wierd.
That's what inspired me to ask.
Old 10-14-2008, 09:26 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 73,178
I think "supremist" is a relatively recent coinage by those who feel "supremacist" is too much of a mouthful. I wouldn't be too surprised if it catches on. Webster's New Millennium Dictionary of English (online at has it, but without any notes on its origin.
Old 10-14-2008, 09:28 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: New London, CT
Posts: 3,770
For what it's worth, the only definition of "supremist" in the OED is as an "obsolete, rare" word meaning "one who takes upon himself supreme authority." So it wasn't standard usage back in '89 when the second edition was compiled.
"We'll make up for our lack of knowledge with can-do American spirit! It's cheaper, in the short-term!" Norman Von Scott


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:44 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017