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Pendant vs. pendent

Pendent is an adjective meaning hanging, dangling, or suspended. It is often mistakenly used in place of pendant, a noun referring to something suspended from something else, especially a piece of jewelry.

Examples

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Many have pink flowers that grow in a cluster; in some species the flowers are pendent. [Backyard Gardener]

The front of the pendant contains pink faux-sapphires woven into rhodium-plated silver. [Neon Tommy]

The lighting varies from modern to retro—multicolored, swirling fiber-optic tendrils act as a centerpiece and are flanked by ’40s-era streamline pendent lights. [Alibi.com]

Actor Johnny Depp wears a pendant of Che around his neck. [Boston Herald]

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Comments

  1. Consider this: if one has a lighting fixture (or speaker) that is designed to be suspended from a ceiling, but it is not yet mounted, it cannot be considered “pendent.”

    As it is, these fixtures are usually sold as “pendant” lights or speakers which seems proper. In this case, I would say that the fixture itself is a “pendant.”

    But then saying “pendant” ahead of light or speaker makes “pendant” an adjective, doesn’t it?

    Perhaps we could say “speaker pendant” to solve this conundrum, but so far as I know, “pendant speaker” is far more common in commercial audio circles than “speaker pendant.” (As an example, refer to JBL Control 60).

    It seems to me that calling a suspended speaker a “pendent” is a mistake as described here, but is it wrong to write “pendant speaker?”

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