That's a joke for the Americans, of course, who haven't heard of a philosopher. The Canadians manage all right with "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - except that it's "Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers" in French! But I digress. Despite the Latin translation being entitled "Harrius Potter et Philophi Lapis", the correct Latin term is, of course, 'lapis philosophorum'. So, it should be "philosophers' stone". But why isn't it? Comments anyone?

John Briggs
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That's a joke for the Americans, of course, who haven't heard of a philosopher. The Canadians manage all right with ... correct Latin term is, of course, 'lapis philosophorum'. So, it should be "philosophers' stone". But why isn't it? Comments anyone?

Only one of them has it. The rest are still searching.

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That's a joke for the Americans, of course, who haven't heard of a philosopher. The Canadians manage all right with "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - except that it's "Harry Potter à l'Ecole des Sorciers" in French! But I digress.

And so do I: in italian it is "Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale", so the title is the same as in English, except that "filosofale" is an adjective.
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That's a joke for the Americans, of course, who haven't heard of a philosopher. The Canadians manage all right with ... correct Latin term is, of course, 'lapis philosophorum'. So, it should be "philosophers' stone". But why isn't it? Comments anyone?

OED confirms:
(tr. med.L. lapis philosophorum, the stone of the philosophers (see philosopher 2), also lapis philosophicus, -icalis; in F. pierre philosophale, Ger. der Stein der Weisen. See Note below.)

and <
(Note. Lapis philosophorum occurs in works attributed to Raymund Lully (1234–1315), and in those of Arnoldus de Villa Nova (1240–1314). ... into a specific name or title. It will be seen that the correct form is not philosopher's, but philosophers' stone.)

Either Joanne doesn't know much Latin, or she spilled a blob of ketchup on the manuscript and the publisher didn't dare correct her, or she was thinking particularly of the actual* stone in the book which had, until it went into the vault, belonged to *one philosopher. No doubt the many Potter fan-sites on-line have discussions up the yin-yang on the topic.
That's a joke for the Americans, of course, who haven't ... should be "philosophers' stone". But why isn't it? Comments anyone?

OED confirms: (tr. med.L. lapis philosophorum, the stone of the philosophers (see philosopher 2), also lapis philosophicus, -icalis; in F. pierre philosophale, Ger. der Stein der Weisen. See Note below.) and < (Note. Lapis philosophorum occurs in works attributed to Raymund[/nq]
Lully (1234-1315), and in those of Arnoldus de Villa Nova (1240-1314).
Probably it was used earlier; it appears in various mediæval works of uncertain age or doubtful authenticity; e.g. in the ... vault, belonged to one philosopher. No doubt the many Potter fan-sites on-line have discussions up the yin-yang on the topic.

But it's not just J.K. Rowling (who read French and Classics!); the usual English form is 'Philosopher's stone' - presumably even in the head form of the OED entry.

John Briggs
On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 01:55:59 -00, "John Briggs"
But it's not just J.K. Rowling (who read French and Classics!); the usual English form is 'Philosopher's stone' - presumably even in the head form of the OED entry.

In OED2, it is "philosophers' stone". In Chambers 21st Century, it is "philosopher's stone".
Take your pick.
Giles.
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But it's not just J.K. Rowling (who read French and ... presumably even in the head form of the OED entry.

In OED2, it is "philosophers' stone". In Chambers 21st Century, it is "philosopher's stone". Take your pick.

But apparently the OED give no examples to support their choice. We all know that they should be right, but it would appear that no one has ever used it correctly!

John Briggs
On Sun, 15 Feb 2004 00:04:58 -00, "John Briggs"
In OED2, it is "philosophers' stone". In Chambers 21st Century, it is "philosopher's stone". Take your pick.

But apparently the OED give no examples to support their choice. We all know that they should be right, but it would appear that no one has ever used it correctly!

In the absence of an academy defining "correct" English use, common usage has to take its place. An etymological derivation of the term in question suggests that "philosophers' stone" puts the apostrophe in a "correct" place. Both the title of a popular book and a definition in a recent dictionary put the apostrophe in a different place.

As I said, take your pick. I suspect that the choice may depend more on how you wish to be seen by others than on any metaphysical conception of absolute correctness.
Giles.
But apparently the OED give no examples to support their ... would appear that no one has ever used it correctly!

In the absence of an academy defining "correct" English use, common usage has to take its place. An etymological derivation ... may depend more on how you wish to be seen by others than on any metaphysical conception of absolute correctness.

It is, nevertheless, strange if the OED (or at least the edition seen by the poster) doesn't give a citation. It is usually quite punctilious on such things, giving at least a very early reference, and even a variety if the useage has changed over the ages, or been contentious. If I can be *** I'll excavate my edition and check.

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