Stationary or Stationery?

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Stationary or Stationery: we've got both

Twentieth century dictionaries define stationary as not mobile, and stationery as writing paper and envelopes.

The word "stationery" however was originally spelled with an "a" in English. It derived from the fact that such products were sold in "stationary" shops and not from travelling peddlers. Both spellings derive from the Latin stationarius defined as a place where something is located.

The earliest documented appearance of the word stationary is in the early 1400's. The word stationery, as an alternative spelling, does not appear until the late 1600's.

A look at Internet search patterns indicates that more users search for stationary than stationery (see table). This ranges from over twice as many searches for "email stationary" than "email stationery" to an approximately 6% preference for "business stationary" over "business stationery".

 
stationary
stationery
email
67.8
32.2
wedding
60.4
40.6
personalized
55.2
44.8
business
53.7
46.3

It's probably about time to return to an early age and correctly spell the word as stationary.

At first we called this site just "Stationary". We tried "Stationary Station", "Stationary Canary" and a few others, but have settled on "Stationary Nation".

 

  stationary, stationery  

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