Flammable & Imflammable...why?

I can’t beleive this isn’t here somewhere but all a search turned up was a Cafe Society thread on the Simpsons, which lead to a half hour tangent, try it yourselves, here:


back? great.

so forgive me if this has been covered before but why do we still have flamable and inflamable?

I read the usage note here:


and its partner, here:


and I can see why both came into usage, but why did they both remain? surely there are plenty of archaic words that have been phased out because more common words had the same meaning. Why/how has inflammable stuck around?

Well now you did it! You went and created a THIRD synonym with that “IMflammable”!!!

There’re old coots like me who like to use the traditional forms of words. We say inflammable, eat doughnuts, pronounce “short-lived” with a long “i,” and if we’re going to do something momentarily, it might be a while before we start, but it won’t take us long.

doughnuts is an alternate spelling, not an alternate waord (and frankly I agree its the right one); short-lived is a pronunciation issue; and I don’t understand the issue with momentarily.

but none of those examples illustrates a nearly identically synonymous word, with an extraodinarly similar spelling remaining in usage. are you saying inflamable is the older form and that flamable has recently (reletively) been adopted?

and sorry about the typo, voltaire, I guess I’ll immolate myslef as pentnance.

From http://www.word-detective.com/120398.html :

thanks Curt.
that’s a cool link, so the knock on flammable, from an “old coot’s” perspective is that its a dumbing down? as opposed to a simplification/clarification?