Submitted by thebestcook on August 7, 2012

Titled vs. Entitled

My beef is with titled vs entitled. It seems that it is now acceptable to use entitled in the place of titled. For example: Jane won the contest so she was entitled to the winnings. This is correct. Jane wrote a book and it was entitled ‘How to win at the lottery’ In my opinion, the book was not entitled to anything. The misuse of the word is very widespread and supposedly the meaning has now been officially changed.

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Both meanings of "entitled" are established. In my experience, "entitled" in the sense of "named" is mostly British usage. In North American English, "titled" seems to be preferred.

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Both meanings are acceptable according to Oxford Dictionaries Online. And Online Etymology Dictionary gives the meaning of 'to give a title to a chapter or book' as actually being older (14th C) than the meaning of entitling somebody to something (15th C), so if anything the change has gone the other way. Dave may well be right because I think I (BrE) would be more inclined to say a book or film was entitled "Bla Bla Bla' than titled 'Bla Bla Bla'.

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Once again, we see the case of a longer word taking the place of a shorter word that does make sense and is unambiguous.
As Dr. McCoy said to Commander Spock, "Where is the logic in that?"

Personally, I cannot see the reason for overlooking the question of "efficient" vs. "inefficient". Why should someone going back to dig in the 14trh century when RIGHT NOW we should know which one is efficient and which is inefficient?

It is seen that in American English, we do have a stronger trend toward efficient expressions than inefficient ones, though I am impatient and I do not see it happening rapidly enough.

Calling the place "THE WHITE HOUSE" was a big step by eleminating "The President's Mansion" and other similar ones.
D.A.W.

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@D.A.W. Wood - I 'dug back into the 14th century' because thebestcook seemed to think that 'entitled' was a recent interloper, when in fact it was the older word for this meaning. I wasn't disparaging the use of 'titled', only defending the use of 'entitled'. You of course have a choice, but why try and force that choice on others?

I suppose you never say 'enormous' or 'gigantic', but only 'huge'. And if you take this efficiency to its logical conclusion, we'd all be going round grunting words of one syllable; they're certainly efficient.

Personally I would say - Jane wrote a book called - ‘How to win at the lottery’ and wouldn't use either 'entitled' or 'titled', but that's simply my choice.

For those interested there's an article about 'entitle' at MWDEU - http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&a...

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You would be surprised by the number of "professional" writers who cannot identify the difference between the words "title" and "entitle." "Title" is what one would put at the top of an essay. "What are you going to title your essay?" "Entitle" is what is given to you or belongs to you through an inheritance. Often used in the past tense, "entitle" could be used by saying, "By law, you are entitled to your mother's house." Though simple to understand, many struggle with these differences.

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@joelackey92 - so what you are basically saying is that the dictionaries have got it all wrong, or as you put it, are struggling with the differences. Is that it?

a satire entitled ‘The Rise of the Meritocracy’ (Oxford Dictionaries Online)
He entitled his book “My Life on Mars.” (Merriam-Webster Online)
to call by a particular title or name: What was the book entitled? (Dictionary.com)
to give a title to a book, poem, or piece of music - Her first novel was entitled More Innocent Times. (Macmillan Dictionary)
the book is entitled “Commentaries on the Laws of England” (Wordnik)
entitle - to give a title or name to (Webster's New World College Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary 4)
entitle - late 14c., "to give a title to a chapter, book, etc.," (Online Etymology Dictionary - the other meaning came a century later)

But I'm sure you know best. It's obviously so simple, and these dictionary writers are clearly all charlatans.

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Titled refers to a noun. When you say that something is titled "(...)", that will mean that it goes by that name. Entitled will refer to verb. Someone entitled it "(...)", which will mean that someone gave the name. Beside that, I think there is no other difference.

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@Urpal - most past participles can be adapted to functions as adjectives - something shocked him, he is shocked. It looks like the same has happened here. The dictionary definitions I gave refer to the verb, but at least two of the examples refer to nouns, with a third being borderline between being an adjective or being a passive. I don't think you can be quite so exclusive.

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entitled: some one holding a right to a title

titled: some one holding a title.

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@chancery.co - Nobody can argue with that, but that wasn't the question. Where do books and films etc come into your scheme of things?

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You need a chill pill Warsaw, I agree with almost every statement here.

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This isn't a case of misuse of language becoming acceptable, as some of you have been suggesting. In actuality, 'entitle' was used before 'title' in the sense of 'to give a title to'. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'entitle' was first used in this sense in 1381, while 'title' was used in this sense in 1387. Both have long histories, and 'entitle' certainly has not become "acceptable misuse".

And as a matter of fact, you can say both, "Jane entitled a book..." and, "Jane has a book entitled...". In the first quote, Jane gave a book a title. In the second, Jane gave a book which has been given (previously, and perhaps not by Jane) a title. The difference is one of active vs. passive voice.

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Checking with Ngram, the results for British books is not very surprising: 'book is/was entitled' leads 'book is/was titled' by quite a long way, and the same is true for 'film'. What surprised me though is that while 'book was titled' is becoming more popular in the American corpus, 'book is/was entitled' was also in the lead for the American corpus as well as the British corpus. And remember that these references are in proofread, edited and published books.

This might of course include 'was entitled to' , but clicking on the Google Books links at the bottom doesn't seem to show any like that. The second link is to the American corpus.

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=bo...

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=bo...

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