Talk:insure

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From RFV[edit]

insure[edit]

Listed as "US". But in en-us, the misuse is astronomically rare and indeed, considered an error. Because of the pronunciation, I'd expect them to be alternate spellings in the UK, sooner than the US! Are they valid meanings for "insure" in the UK? --Connel MacKenzie 23:19, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

  • The OED list six meaning of insure. SemperBlotto 08:19, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
  • Re the defs Connel has tagged, OED2+ lists our def 4 as obsolete, with no post-16th C cites. It does not tag our def 5 as obsolete, but it has no post-19th C cites, and IMO it is at the least archaic in UK, and probably obsolete, ie most people would assume the usage to be erroneous unless they found it used by a well known author (BTW, two of the OED cites for this sense are from Irving and Ruskin). --Enginear 00:50, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Please clarify if I'm wrong, but I thought the Wiktionary tagging of "obsolete" had only a small relation to the OED's "obsolete" tag. If we see no independent uses of a term in the last 100 years, it gets the "obsolete" tag, right? (Discounting authors writing about Shakespeare, for example.) That said, since our criteria is for tagging something as "obsolete" is less restrictive that the OED's, (or m-w.com or dictionary.com, etc.) then referencing one of those secondary sources is more than sufficient justification for keeping the "obsolete" tag here, as well. Right? --Connel MacKenzie 16:32, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

I find the following uses contradicting that idea that insure is incorrect for ensure. There were many. many more I found besides; this is merely a sampling to show that such "mis"-usage occurs in all manner of documents, in multiple countries, and over an extended time. --EncycloPetey 00:44, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

  • 1787Constitution of the United States of America
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
  • 1847Herman Melville, Omoo, ch XLVIII
    The better to insure this end, every effort is made to prevent them from acquiring the native language.
  • 1889Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company, ch XXXVIII
    For two months Alleyne had wavered betwixt death and life, with a broken rib and a shattered head; yet youth and strength and a cleanly life were all upon his side, and he awoke from his long delirium to find that the war was over, that the Spaniards and their allies had been crushed at Navaretta, and that the prince had himself heard the tale of his ride for succor and had come in person to his bedside to touch his shoulder with his sword and to insure that so brave and true a man should die, if he could not live, within the order of chivalry.
  • 1914Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Warlord of Mars, ch IX
    His counsel seemed wise; and as there was apparently no other way to insure a successful entry to Kadabra, the capital city of Okar, we set out with Talu, Prince of Marentina, for his little, rock-bound country.
  • 19351935 Filipino Constitution
  • The promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people should be the concern of the State.


As a Brit, I would never use insure to mean "be certain" or "to guarantee" - that is ensure. When books from English writers such Conan Doyle get published in America, the spelling is changed so as not to offend local custom. English spelling was once very variable