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chicest / most chic?

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16:09 Mar 10, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Tourism & Travel
English term or phrase: chicest / most chic?
What's the superlative of "chic" in English? Google turned up a huge number of matches for "chicest" -- a term I've often used in spoken English. However, it looks funny on paper since I'd expect the "ce" combination to yield a soft "c" sound. Is this term and this spelling accceptable in semiformal (journalistic) writing? I'm working from a Spanish original which describes the chicest(?) resort in a given region.
Steven Capsuto
United States
Local time: 19:35
English translation:comments
Explanation:
Just thought I'd point out that sometimes we English speakers will avoid things that may be perfectly correct, just cos they look (or sound) strange.

Chic - yep, the rule is that regular one syllable words (let's not forget exceptions like bad and good) go -er and -est. No worries when you're talking, everyone's gonna know what you mean if you say 'chicest'.

If you speak English well enough, you will almost certainly almost subconsciously plan ahead when speaking in order to avoid things that sound odd or are just plain difficult. If picking pecks of pickled pepper were a crime, then a police officer interrogating a witness is unlikely to ask, “OK, so where is the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?” He’d re-phrase the question. However, typed, it presents no problem at all. The same can apply, although less often perhaps, in reverse.

Sure, you can say chic-est. However, with the best will in the world, it looks weird written down. Is it a typo for choicest? (and the meaning is similar enough to mean context won't help). Is it is typo for something else? Why isn't it spelt chiquest? (maybe it can be?) I would say it's best avoided in written text, and so I’d go for “most chic”, or, as someone else said, an alternative word entirely.

This wouldn't help in reported speech, of course, but in that situation, I might decide on "chic-est". ( Actually, chic is a word I detest; I cannot imagine anybody saying anything worth reporting that would include the word "chic", but I digress.)

The point is, some things just look wrong written down - chicest is one. So avoid it, the alternative is there - most chic. Use that instead!!
Selected response from:

Charlie Bavington
Local time: 00:35
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone who responded. However, it was Charlie's analysis that addressed the concerns I had and helped me make a choice. What a pity one can't split the points in Kudoz!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +7chicest
EdithK
5 +6most chicRHELLER
4 +4comments
Charlie Bavington
5 +2the most elegant, the most sophisticated, le plus chicFuad Yahya
5 +1chicest
Hacene
5same differenceAlexander Demyanov
5 -1The most chicJason Brooks
4chicest
Kim Metzger
2in support of Edith
Jonathan MacKerron


  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +7
chicest


Explanation:
Though it might look a bit weird, it's correct.

EdithK
Switzerland
Local time: 01:35
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Kim Metzger: The OED and Concise Oxford agree.
8 mins
  -> Thanks, it not what sounds better but what's correct.

agree  Fuad Yahya
19 mins
  -> Thanks.

agree  Cilian O'Tuama: sounds the naturalest to my ear
32 mins

agree  chopra_2002
39 mins

agree  Francesca Siotto
1 hr

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr

agree  Jonathan MacKerron: see my Dickens quote below
3 hrs
  -> Love it. Thanks.
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3 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
chicest


Explanation:
Normally, -er and -est is the suffix for the superlative of a one-syllable word. My Concise Oxford recommends this spelling.

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 18:35
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
chicest


Explanation:
the word "chic" is coming from a Frecnh word (chique). It has been imported into the English language and it's superlative despite defying all spelling rules is indeed chicest (pronounced tchikest)

Hacene
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:35
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Francesca Siotto
1 hr
  -> cheers
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
same difference


Explanation:
"chic" is not a very "superlativable" word
However, people do venture to make superlatives out of it, in many cases jokingly.
They use both "chicest" and "most chic".



Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 19:35
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
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1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +6
most chic


Explanation:
-

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 mins (2004-03-10 16:11:43 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

google will always turn up matches
the question is which results in the most matches\"?

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 mins (2004-03-10 16:15:16 GMT)
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also, when looking at google matches, always check the reference to see if it comes from a foreign website. For example, if it has a de, jp, cz at the end, it comes from Germany, Japan, Czechoslovakia. Their English is \"translated\". These website references are counted in the total number.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2004-03-10 16:16:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

also, when looking at google matches, always check the reference to see if it comes from a foreign website. For example, if it has a de, jp, cz at the end, it comes from Germany, Japan, Czechoslovakia. Their English is \"translated\". These website references are counted in the total number.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2004-03-10 16:17:51 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------


Merriam-Webster Dictionary \"The word you\'ve entered isn\'t in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search box to the right.\"
http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dicti...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 mins (2004-03-10 16:21:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

also, when looking at google matches, always check the reference to see if it comes from a foreign website. For example, if it has a de, jp, cz at the end, it comes from Germany, Japan, Czechoslovakia. Their English is \"translated\". These website references are counted in the total number.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2004-03-10 16:22:41 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

also, when looking at google matches, always check the reference to see if it comes from a foreign website. For example, if it has a de, jp, cz at the end, it comes from Germany, Japan, Czechoslovakia. Their English is \"translated\". These website references are counted in the total number.

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 17:35
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Armorel Young: despite the arguments, which are theoretically correct, in favour of chicest, I nevertheless feel much happier with most chic
10 mins
  -> sigh of relief, that's precisely how I feel

neutral  Kim Metzger: Hi Rita. I'd say a style manual or dictionary would be more useful as a reference than Google in this case.
12 mins
  -> Hi Kim - please refer to Merriam -Webster quoted above

agree  Aisha Maniar: Yes, while chicest may well be used, I definitely think "most chic" sounds better
17 mins
  -> thanks Aisha :-)

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr
  -> thanks Vickky:-)

agree  Rusinterp
8 hrs
  -> thanks Alexandra:-)

agree  Charlie Bavington: I would use this in writing
9 hrs
  -> merci bien :-)

agree  xxxIanW: WIth Armorel, Aisha etc.
13 hrs
  -> Ian is back! :-)
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33 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +2
the most elegant, the most sophisticated, le plus chic


Explanation:
As to "the chicest" being correct or not, it is correct.

But since you are working from Spanish into English, you may have "chicer" alternatives, like "the most elegant," "the most sophisticated," or "the most stylish" (depending on how you read the intended shade of meaning).

If you feel you want to impart a French flavor to the text, following the Spanish, I would consider using "le plus chic" if the nature of the text allows that kind of liberty.

Just some possible alternatives.

But "chicest" is correct.

Fuad Yahya
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  chopra_2002
8 mins

neutral  pidzej: assuming the superlative is to be based on English rules, chiccest could theoretically be the correct spelling, a single-syllable word ending in a single consonant following a short vowel should have that consonant doubled, shouldn't it?
2 hrs
  -> The question the asker is posing is not "should it or shouldn't it," but rather "is it or isn't it." English "rules" are based more on established forms than on mechanical stencils. "Chicest" happens to be the established superlative form of "chic."

agree  Kim Metzger: Nice alternatives. To pidzej: doubling the consonant is typical, but there are always exceptions. This is one of them.
3 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
in support of Edith


Explanation:
Dickens said "»Mrs. Hominy, sir, is the lady of Major Hominy, one of our chicest spirits; and belongs Toe one of our most aristocratic families. You air, p'raps, acquainted, sir, with Mrs. Hominy's writings.«
[Dickens: The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, P. 667. Digitale Bibliothek Sonderband: The Digital Library of English and American Literature, P. 33568 (cf. Dickens-Works vol. 6, P. 446)]


Jonathan MacKerron
Local time: 01:35
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): -1
The most chic


Explanation:
There is no such term as "chicest"!!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 49 mins (2004-03-10 17:59:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Those who have mastered the english language KNOW that there are two branches of it : the grammatical (which is the unchangeable, correct version) of any language. And, the spoken (which includes words that are ACCEPTED in every day speech, but not necessarily grammatically correct. The DICTIONARY holds grammatically correct words. If a word isn\'t there, then it isn\'t grammatically accurate.

Jason Brooks
Local time: 00:35
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Jonathan MacKerron: despite the nearly 8000 googles for "chicest"?; since when are all words in dictionaries?
12 mins
  -> Forget "googles"! Try looking up "chicest" in any english dictionary

neutral  Kim Metzger: See above. That's how it's spelled in the Concise Oxford and the OED. Added: Dear Stephen: chicest.
1 hr
  -> spelled how : "chicest" or "most chic"??

disagree  EKM: Languages evolve. Dictionaries are static representations of a language, at times very useful, but all words in a dic. are not gram. correct. Many accepted words are based on Freudian slips and misunderstandings/misspellings. Still, they make the dict.
9 hrs
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +4
comments


Explanation:
Just thought I'd point out that sometimes we English speakers will avoid things that may be perfectly correct, just cos they look (or sound) strange.

Chic - yep, the rule is that regular one syllable words (let's not forget exceptions like bad and good) go -er and -est. No worries when you're talking, everyone's gonna know what you mean if you say 'chicest'.

If you speak English well enough, you will almost certainly almost subconsciously plan ahead when speaking in order to avoid things that sound odd or are just plain difficult. If picking pecks of pickled pepper were a crime, then a police officer interrogating a witness is unlikely to ask, “OK, so where is the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?” He’d re-phrase the question. However, typed, it presents no problem at all. The same can apply, although less often perhaps, in reverse.

Sure, you can say chic-est. However, with the best will in the world, it looks weird written down. Is it a typo for choicest? (and the meaning is similar enough to mean context won't help). Is it is typo for something else? Why isn't it spelt chiquest? (maybe it can be?) I would say it's best avoided in written text, and so I’d go for “most chic”, or, as someone else said, an alternative word entirely.

This wouldn't help in reported speech, of course, but in that situation, I might decide on "chic-est". ( Actually, chic is a word I detest; I cannot imagine anybody saying anything worth reporting that would include the word "chic", but I digress.)

The point is, some things just look wrong written down - chicest is one. So avoid it, the alternative is there - most chic. Use that instead!!


Charlie Bavington
Local time: 00:35
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone who responded. However, it was Charlie's analysis that addressed the concerns I had and helped me make a choice. What a pity one can't split the points in Kudoz!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  RHELLER: such an analytical mind :-)
24 mins

agree  EKM
33 mins

agree  xxxIanW: With you all the way, Charlie!
3 hrs

agree  senin
3 days10 hrs
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