Style matters #7: Your ‘career’ is not complete without ‘careen’

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There is a subtle difference between the verb form of career and its lesser-known – and I would argue increasingly under-used – cousin careen.

The word “career” (used in its verb form) is taken to mean “to move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way”, as in:

The coach careered across the road and crashed through the fence.

However, among its other definitions*, “careen” (also a verb) means “to sway or lurch from side to side”, as in:

They saw the car teeter precariously at the edge of the road before it careened down the hill, tossed about on the rough terrain.

* Historically, the latter word came had its origins in the nautical world, meaning “to tilt (a ship) on its side for cleaning or repair” or “to tilt or lean over”.

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If you like what you’ve read here, you can see reporting4work’s similar posts at Style Matters

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