Learn English – In Britain the word ‘normalcy’ is ridiculed


Does anyone use 'normalcy'? It is ridiculed in Britain as an American affectation, especially since there is a time-honoured word which means exactly the same thing i.e 'normality'.

Best Answer

The OED lists normalcy as a headword with "Chiefly U.S." There is a telling citation:

1929 G. N. Clark in S.P.E. Tract xxxiii. 417 If..‘normalcy’ is ever to become an accepted word it will presumably be because the late President Harding did not know any better.

The earliest citations are from 1845, in a strictly mathematical sense (the condition of a line being normal [perpendicular] to another).

Normality dates from a similar time, but has the sense of "what may be usually expected". British English has retained that distinction.