Posted by: episystechpubs | January 8, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Resilience vs Resiliency

Before we start on our next great adventure into grammar, I’m going to answer a few questions from the audience.

Dear Editrix,

While watching NFL football this past weekend, I noticed quite a few of the sportscasters using the word resiliency when describing a team’s ability to overcome their opponent’s scoring, i.e., the Cowboys’ resiliency is impressive. To my ear, the correct word should be resilience. However, when researching it appears the words can be used interchangeably and both have the same definition. Is there any difference?

Sincerely,

Football Fan

Dear Football Fan,

What an interesting observation! I’m with you—to my ear, resiliency sounds like the sportscasters trying to be fancy. Here’s what our friends at Merriam-Webster have to say:

resilience (noun)

: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

: the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.

resiliency (noun)

: resilience

I checked a few resources on the histories of both words and it seems that resilience has been around several more decades than resiliency, but both words are from the 1600s (1620 and 1660, respectively). Not only do I agree with your “ear”—that resilience sounds better—but your conclusion that they are interchangeable seems to be correct, too.

Thanks for the question!

Editrix

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Responses

  1. Sitting here with the hubby and heard resiliency from a sportscaster and it totally hurt my ears but after research (like you did), it appears it is a word-lol! Who knew! I am sticking with resilience though!

  2. Why don’t we then also say perseverancy? To my ear, it would be as equally offensive as resiliency. Just because something is deemed by someone as an acceptable usage doesn’t make it right. I’ve read recently that irregardless is now an acceptable alternative for regardless. Grrrrr….


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