Friday, July 9, 2010

A Stock Market Indice?

I've always wondered why people refer to stock market "indexes" instead of "indices" (and I'm sure you have too).  Apparently both are acceptable in the financial world, although "typically, indexes is used when referring to written (word) documents, and indices is used when referring to mathematical or scientific matters".  (Wow, my Mozilla spellcheck doesn't even recognize "indices" - low-brow browser!)  I would think that the S&P 500 Index - a mathematical representation of the U.S. equity market - would thus qualify, although the "science" part of anything based on it might be a stretch.  Etymologically, the original Latin plural "indices" certainly appeared first, although apparently we have the 17th century English to blame for offering to pluralize index as they do with other words - by adding an "s" or "es".  Another commentator offers "if they're not very bright, they're much more likely to use the word "indexes".  Hmm...don't think I'll go there.  Several sources said they would write "indices" but say "indexes" - now that's a just plain stupid solution in my humble estimation.  (A similar problem occurs with the word "appendix", with "appendices" referring to books, and "appendixes" to a body part.)  So take your pick, just don't use "indice" as the singular form, thank you very much.  Talk about fingernails on a chalkboard!