Normalcy vs. normality

Normality and normalcy are different forms of the same word. Normality is centuries older, though, and many English authorities consider it the superior form, for what that’s worth. Nouns ending in -cy usually come from adjectives ending in -t—for example, pregnancy from pregnant, complacency from complacent, hesitancy from hesitantwhile adjectives ending in -l usually take the -ity suffix. Normalcy is unique in flouting this convention.

Normalcy was popularized in the early 20th century thanks to President Warren G. Harding’s “return to normalcy” campaign slogan (though the word did exist before then), and language authorities have been unable to stamp it out.

This ngram graphs the use of normalcy and normality in English-language books published from 1800 to 2000.

Normalcy Vs Normality English

The graph limited to American English is roughly the same. Normalcy is a little less common in the U.K.

15 thoughts on “Normalcy vs. normality”

  1. “Different spellings of the same word”? I would contest that for the simple reason that they’re pronounced differently as well. There is a fair amount of the kind of backward thinking that gives the written word primacy over the spoken, but I wish there weren’t.

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    • Don’t you mean, “primalcy”?
      Actually, you do, but primalcy would be the “archaic” form. It is bowing to the greater linguistic rule (speaking of pronunciation) that specifies the loss of letters in a word gradually over the life of the word as it devolves into a bound morpheme…
      Eventually, a language gets smaller units of meaning as it gets older and either joins with a younger language or becomes another language’s suffixes and prefixes.

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  2. The OED’s first recorded usages of each word are only 7 years apart, not “centuries” (nor, for that matter, does this ngram show them that far apart). I’d be interested to see where you got the data.

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  3. no bro no its like normalcy g
    is the act of being in normality like normalcy the normalcy spread like a plague while complete normality of everyday life was one of the illuminati main goals before achieving world domination

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  4. the normalcy bra the normalcy
    the guy said as long as the is the idea of normalcy there will always be the idea of weird

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  5. is the act of being in normality like normalcy the normality spread like a plague while complete normalcy of everyday life was one of the illuminati main goals before achieving world domination wait I think that’s how its suppose to go

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  6. I hear Normalcy used way more and I started second guessing whether I was using a correct word in Normality.

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  7. Please don’t allow center-of-page animated pop-up ads that block the content and force you to watch with no “x.” I almost left the page within seconds as a result.

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