Friday, March 27, 2009

Conforming versus Conformant: Which Conforms?

OK, what is it with "conformant" for products that conform to a standard? What's wrong with "conforming"? If something conforms, it is conforming (if something deforms, it is deforming (the deforming pressures...not deformant pressures).

I've had to use that foul nonword in various documents and web pages because the organization for whom I'm producing these things has ignored my argument that, since conformant wasn't in any actual dictionary, it didn't count as an actual word. At about that time, interestingly, it showed up in Wiktionary). Apparently the argument is that, because it appears in a zillion pages on the web, it is now a real word. Dagnabbit, it's just a lazy back-formation from "conformance". Nerds.