You Don't Say John E. McIntyre writes about language, usage, journalism & arbitrarily chosen subjects.

Take the cache and let the edit go

The Baltimore Sun

Today on Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski quoted from a text and pronounced the word cache as “cash-ay.” This is a common confusion.

Both cache, pronounced “cash,” and cachet, pronounced “cash-ay,” derive from the French cacher, “to hide.” Cache has a direct route into English, a verb meaning “to conceal,” as one secures food on a camping trip to keep it from raccoons and bears. As a noun, cache can be the place where the items are hidden or the items themselves.

Cachet comes from a different sense of cacher, “to press,” which derives from the Latin cogere, also “to press.” A cachet is a seal pressed on a document, attesting to its authenticity or official approval. From that sense the word has been extended to mean “a mark of distinction” or simply “prestige.”

Some confusion may have been created by the existence of a mall store vending vulgar and overpriced women’s clothing, styling itself Caché. You can judge its cachet for yourself.

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