May 19, 2019

One of my current subjects on the blog has been — have you noticed? — hateability... but how should I spell it?

I've been writing "hateable." This morning I quoted an earlier post of mine: "Speaking of trying too hard, maybe female politicians try too hard to expunge or hide any hateability..."

Someone in the comments questioned my spelling of the word, and I said:
I considered the spelling of the word — looked it up different ways and even had a conversation about it.

I think it's too hard to understand without the "e." It's almost an invented word, unlike likable, which I'd prefer to write with the "e," but which has become standardized. I don't like not following the same approach to both words, but there is a difference, in that "likable" is definitely a real word and "hateable" is almost something that needs to be written "hate-able" to be understood. It's still gestating.

Anyway, I can't accept "hatable." Seems to be about hats.
But I looked it up in the OED. The spelling at the top of the page is "hateable," but the oldest use was spelled "hatable":
c1425 Serm. (BL Add.) in G. Cigman Lollard Serm. (1989) 141 Pride is hatable to God and men.
I keep reading...
▸ c1443 R. Pecock Reule of Crysten Religioun (1927) 39 (MED) It is waast in kinde, and þerfore hateable and fleable of kynde, and vnmakeable of kynde, to haue multitude of soulis þere þat oon may suffice as manye.
Ah, there's my spelling.
1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues Haïssable, hatable; fit, or worthie to be hated.
1657 J. Davies tr. H. D'Urfé Astrea II. 200 Silvander does not onely make himselfe hateable by his fictions and dissimulations, but also drawes an odium upon all other men.
The score is even...
1764 tr. Marquise de Sévigné Lett. (ed. 2) I. lxix. 196 As you say that you hate every thing that is hateable, you certainly cannot bear her.
1818 H. J. Todd Johnson's Dict. Eng. Lang. Hateable..It should be written hatable.
Well! All the way back in 1818, the improver of Johnson's dictionary was telling us what should be.
1837 T. Carlyle in London & Westm. Rev. Jan. 400 Really a most..hateable, lovable old Marquis.
Thomas Carlyle. He's a good role model. And, look, he's got an e-less "lovable" right next to "hateable." (Here, try reading that passage. The Carlyle writing style, so hateable, lovable.)

I'll skip a few quotes, but the last one is from 4 years ago:
2015 T. Shaw I hate Kale Cookbook 5 Why hate kale?..It's painfully hip, and hipness is nothing if not hateable.
Ha ha. Kale.

Let's see, here's some input in the comments from Owen:
Prof. A @ 7:50 on “hateable” vs. “hatable.” Totally agree. It’s still gestating. Is it a word we really need? Why not “odious”? There would be a classy Latin base to it, none of these clunky neologisms.
Yes, "odious" is a great word and it does have the right meaning. But I needed "hateable" (or "hatable") for visual parallelism with "likable." Now, once I put it that way, I've made an argument for "hatable." I care about the look of the word. But I'm still clinging to "hateable" because of the visual problem of seeing "hat."

I'm not saying I'll let you decide, but I'll take some input:

Pick the better spelling. free polls


tcrosse said...

Although Tex had no cattle, he was still hatable.

Curious George said...

I'd write in "Chuck"

Ice Nine said...

If you want to talk about loathsomeness use "hateable."
If you want to talk about heads, use "hatable."

Big Mike said...

“Hatable” looks as though it’s supposed mean “able to wear a hat.”

Achilles said...

Hat able doesn’t work.

Hate able works.

Fen said...

Likeable and Hateable.

Likable is for ice cream cones, hatable is for hats. :)

Laslo Spatula said...

And would it be 'hatelicious' or hatealicious'?

You know, for something that feels so good to hate.

Because sometimes it isn't just 'hating': it is the exquisite taste of hating -- of savoring hate like one would savor a fine dessert.

But most people nowadays just hate like they're eating a bag of Cheetos bought at the Seven-Eleven. Low-brow hate to be washed down with an ideological Mountain Dew: empty-calories hate.

I am Laslo.

Narayanan said...

Irony + serious.

For Latinateliness or is it Greeky!?

jimbino said...

In English, the e following a+consonant has the effect of making the a-sound long, as in "hate" vs "hat," "rate" vs. "rat." Since we all say "hate" with a long-a, the spelling needs to conserve the 'e'. n-gram agrees. Same with "likeable," though n-gram seems to disagree.

Laslo Spatula said...

From the esteemed Urban Dictionary:

Hate Fuck:
The act of fucking a person that you despise. Such an act is typically characterized by name calling, roughness, and immediate departure after the act.
"The girl was a loud mouthed hippie who talked shit about me at a party once, so I took her home, hate fucked her, and kicked her out."

Also, regarding axioms about hate: fuck Yoda. I hate that dude.

I am Laslo.

JackWayne said...

Hateable is likEable.

Yancey Ward said...

I would have spelled it "loathsome".

john burger said...

A propos of nothing to this post, last night we watched "The Professor and the Madman" with Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. Whoddathunk a story about a dictionary could be so riveting. Penn's performance is Oscar worthy.

As for this post, I agree that "hateable" is a better spelling. Notwithstanding the "hat" problem, removing the "e" tempers down the odious (snickering) nature of "hate".


etbass said...

What's wrong with hateful?

Unknown said...

It has zip to do with looking as though a hat would fit your appearance to a tee. Not hatable.

Yancey Ward said...

Hateful means one is full of hate, hateable means one is fit to be hated. Not really the same meaning, though those who are hateful are often hated for it.

rhhardin said...

"Hate mail is first attested 1951. Hate crime is attested by 1988. Hate speech in modern use is attested by 1990"

Blog comments have hate conversation.

wholelottasplainin' said...



Solves everything.

stevew said...

Detestable is a good substitute for hateable except that detest is not nearly as strong an emotion as hate. Probably why we have two words.

I looked up makeable and see that makable is not only acceptable but currently preferred. Though I didn't do extensive research so I'm not sure how true that is. Then, 'mak' isn't a word so there's no confusion when removing the 'e'.

Hatable should be pronounced the same was as hateable - there's only one consonant between the 'a's so the first would be long as in hate rather than short as in hat. But, just like you, I read it as hat if the 'e' is not included.

Hateable, always and forever.

richlb said...

The main difference is in the potential for confusion. If something give off the desire to be licked, the word is "LICKABLE" so no one would confuse "likable" with "lickable". But if something has the desire to be festooned with a chapeau, the word would be "HATABLE", so to avoid confusion we include the "E" so as to be "hateable."

And now that I've typed that I realize that I must not type the word "likable" much because my first time typing without thinking I actually included the "E".

Irynadreamer said...

Hatability is something that each person faces in their every day life. However I think we should try to avoid situations or people connected to it.
If you need any custom writing help, check out our website.

etbass said...

Yancey, you might want to check Webster on the definition or even the Google version, which says "arousing, deserving of, or filled with hatred."

Webster says, 1. Full of hate, MALICIOUS. 2. Exciting or deserving hate

Why invent another synonym?

MarkCh said...

"Odious" implies that something deserves hatred or is at least actually bad, while "hateable" just means that people find it easy to hate, even though it may not be bad at all. Since the meaning is different, it is good to have a new word.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

use a hyphen

gilbar said...

i think it's spelt Loathsomeness

gilbar said...

rhhardin said...
Hate crime is attested by 1988.

I'm Pretty Sure, that is At Least four years late

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...


Clyde said...

Oderint dum metuant.

Hunter said...

Seems like the 'es have it.

Ann Althouse said...

""Odious" implies that something deserves hatred or is at least actually bad, while "hateable" just means that people find it easy to hate, even though it may not be bad at all. Since the meaning is different, it is good to have a new word."

This is a good point, and it's also what I was going to say... then read the definition of "odious" and changed my mind. Was I wrong when I changed my mind?

Odious (OED): "Deserving of hatred; exciting hatred or repugnance; hateful; disagreeable; offensive; repulsive."

Hateable (OED): "Deserving of hatred; that deserves to be hated or greatly disliked; odious."

See? That's why I didn't go with that idea, but I actually do agree that's what I'm thinking when "hateable" seems to have a use that's different from "hateful" (which is defined in the OED as "That arouses or provokes feelings of hatred; odious; detestable; repulsive." "Hateful" also means "Full of hate; malevolent; malign," so that's confusing.

I'm talking about the idea of easiness as a target of hate, so that's why I'm going for "hateable."

gbarto said...

If something were able to be hatted, as by the mad hatter, there would be two tees: hattable. As we see with the mad hatter, not mad hater.

That said, I write hateable because hatable looks like it should have something to do with hats.


Saint Croix said...

That's like a lose-lose scenario.

"hatable" looks way better. But the word "hat" ruins that word. You think it's a "hat" word, and you mispronounce it and misunderstand it.

I know what you mean when you say "hateable," but that's a shit word. You got the "e" and the "a" all crammed together. It looks like it's not a word.

I guess I'd vote for "hatable," just on an I.M. Pei theory of trying to look cool. Even though the damn word isn't functional.

Maybe if you can work a "bile" into the end of the word, that would help.

You are hatabile! Or hateabile!

"bile" is definitely more hatie (hateie?) than "able"

robother said...

"Hatable" sounds like a compliment you'd give to the girl in Randy Newman's song "You Can Leave Your Hat On."

wwww said...

"Hatable" sounds like "lunch-able."(TM) An unhealthy children's snack food.

Michael K said...

One reason Hateable is the proper (autocorrect hates it) term is that "like" has no lik form while hate has hat,

Hunter said...

I’m reminded of the current fad of describing a person as having a “punchable face.”

What this means is that you really dislike someone and want to punch him (almost always a him, for obvious reasons). But you don’t want to think of yourself as the sort of person who defaults to violence, ie. a bully — no, it’s just something about that face. Anybody who saw that face would hate it and want to punch it. It’s hardly your fault for noticing.

And someone with a face that punchable probably deserves a punch, anyway. There is an order to the universe.

rehajm said...

There was that lady hawking cooking oil and singing about Wessonality. Maybe it could be hateonality?

traditionalguy said...

I prefer Abominable. Hate is too mild.

Earnest Prole said...

Why is serviceable not spelled servicable?
Why is noticeable not spelled noticable?
Why is manageable not spelled managable?
Why is peaceable not spelled peacable?
Why is knowledgeable not spelled knowledgable?
Why is likeable not spelled likable?
To ask is to answer.

traditionalguy said...

Abominable is very hateful and damnable. Have a nice day.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

arent they...interchangeable?

Kevin said...

easy to hate

This just means my friends won't give me grief over it.

It's less and less about the person or the object itself.

Hate is the ultimate virtue signaling.

Quaestor said...

Pride is hatable to God and men.

This is before the great vowel shift, so in debates about hate versus hat in the early 15th century, any position is built on rather shifty foundations.

There is room to argue that hate and hat were homonyms in the ancient past, and in Swedish they remain so, hat and hatt being only subtly different. Germanic tongues are rich in homonyms, many implying a poetic or ironic relationship.

For example, the Old Norse berserkir is usually translated as "bear-coat", implying a warrior who wears an animal pelt as armor or a talisman of his bear-like ferocity. However, just as modern has bear and bare, in Old Norse, which had less fluid orthography, berserkir could be "bare-coat", as in naked from the waist up if not entirely nude.

Quaestor said...

When Louis XVI stepped out of his coach on the morning of 21 January 1793, he was very hateable. A few minutes later he was not very hatable.

Skyler said...

Voters be damned. You drop a silent “e” when adding a suffix.

Fen said...

"Hate is the ultimate virtue signaling."

Well that's just grand. Now I'm in a loop. Thanks alot.

wildswan said...

I think "hateable" catches a nuance which especially applies to women candidates for political office. There may be nothing "wrong" but (theory) if women are hateable (Hillary, Amy Klobuchar, Kamala) they won't win. It has to do in their cases with abuse of subordinates and a charmless, iron smile. Boring; but on the other hand, mean.

Bunkypotatohead said...

How do you spell loveable? Lovable is considered acceptable also.
So at least be consistent when you spell hateable/hatable.

mikee said...

If you want to express the idea of deserving or inviting hatred, just say "Hillary-like."

Dan said...

Do you think "capable" also looks like it has something to do with caps?

Kirk Parker said...

john burger,

"Whoddathunk a story about a dictionary could be so spellbinding"


Skippy Tisdale said...

Hate-able, would be someone capable of hating.