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  • But seriously, I'm sorry to see that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's online style guide for Radio National says:

    gaol: current usage is jail, not gaol

    Then again, who cares what a radio station (which deals in the spoken word) thinks? So I go look at The Penguin Working Words: An Australian Guide to Modern English Usage, and it says:

    "The preferred Australian spelling is gaol, even though it has been known on many occasions to give rise to the typographical error 'goal'. Contrary to popular opinion, jail is not an Americanism but was used by Samuel Johnson and John Milton among others as a variant of gaol." emphasis mine

    Well I feel better now.

    November 2, 2008

  • I like the perversity of gaol. And gaoler is a much more satisfying word than jailer. On the other hand, it's always been jailbird for me – perhaps that's an Americanism, not sure…

    November 2, 2008