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That's what they call it, over at the Palais des Congrès in Paris:

Do you suppose that the Académie Française made them stick in the extra c? Anyhow, there are quite a few of these signs — I think I saw four, and probably there are more.

I was hoping to find a Shakespearean precedent, but it seems that he (or his printers) mostly used the spelling "cloake".


  1. Bill Poser said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 1:18 am

    My concern would be that it is a confusion between "cloak" and "cloaca". I'd be worried that they are going to flush your coat down the sewer.

  2. Cheryl Thornett said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 1:35 am

    There is a folk etymology in the UK that 'cloakroom' comes from 'cloaca'.

  3. Bunny Mellon said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 3:44 am

    I suppose they use the two hangers to unblock the sewer of wet coats..

  4. Alex B said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 4:12 am

    Actually, the French think that all English words are spelled with ck. If you're called Frank, chances are your name will come out as Franck.

  5. Bunny Mellon said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 5:27 am

    Actually, kloakk is used in Norwegian to mean sewage (kloakkrør is sewer). They are usually a bit anti- Roman stuff (so competitive, the Vikings).

  6. Joe said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 6:11 am

    Ah, this brings to mind the following bit from Ulysses:

    What was (Roman) civilisation? Vast, I allow: but vile. Cloacae: sewers. The Jews in the wilderness and on the mountaintop said: IT IS MEET TO BE HERE. LET US BUILD AN ALTAR TO JEHOVAH. The Roman, like the Englishman who follows in his footsteps, brought to every new shore on which he set his foot (on our shore he never set it) only his cloacal obsession. He gazed about him in his toga and he said: IT IS MEET TO BE HERE. LET US CONSTRUCT A WATERCLOSET.

  7. Alan said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 6:44 am

    Dammit, Bill beat me to the cloaca which is exactly what I was thinking.

  8. Mark P said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 10:25 am

    The spelling brought "cloaca" to mind, but it is so odd looking that to my eye, the word alternates between breaking between the k and r, and breaking between the c and k (cloac-kroom). I don't know what a "kroom" is.

  9. Mark P said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 10:28 am

    Too late I googled. kroom appears to be Estonian for chromium.

  10. Adrian Bailey said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 11:09 am

    When I saw it I thought of German "Kloake". I think the word is better known in Germany than "cloaca" is in the US/UK.

  11. Bunny Mellon said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 1:19 pm

    Adrian Bailey wrote, …German "Kloake"

    Ah, Germany must be where the Norwegian kloakk came via.

  12. Q. Pheevr said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

    Shakespeare may not have written cloack, but (according to the OED) William Prynne did: "Timothy..Paul's..Cloack-carrier, and Book-bearer..was certainly no Bishop" (from The Unbishoping of Timothy and Titus (1636), quoted in the OED s.v. cloak). Not nearly so famous a precedent as something from Da Bard, but looking it up introduced me to the word unbishoping, which is a nice bonus.

  13. Coby Lubliner said,

    July 3, 2008 @ 7:21 pm

    Alex B is right: the French like to write English k as ck. "Steack" for "steak" is common, and I have seen a café offering "breackfast."

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