Thursday, July 28, 2011


Stickler that I am for precise word usage, I thought I'd treat you all to another one of my 'lexicon' posts. The previous (and first) one dealt with the homophones 'vice/vise'.

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My wristwatch had lost some time when I went to put it on the other morning -- it needs a new 'battery'.


I know it's come to be common usage, but it's incorrect. What goes in a watch is a 'cell', not a 'battery'.

Pictured below is the little bubble-packed item I got from Staples.

In the lower left corner of the card it says "battery". The package does not contain a battery. It contains a cell.

This is a cell.

This is a battery.

A battery consists of more than one cell. The cells might be assembled in a single casing, as they are in a car battery.

Or they might slide into a tubular housing, as they do in a flashlight battery.

But a 'battery' always consists of more than one cell. A single cell is not a battery.

I would have thought that Duracell, of all people, would keep that straight.

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