Clamoring and Clambering
Paul Russell calls our attention to confusion between the verbs clamor [klăm’ər] and clamber.[klăm’bər].
I just found the phrase “F1’s sponsors were clambering for a presence in the USA.”
One “clamors” for attention or, in this case, for a presence.
Used as both noun and verb, clamor comes from Latin clamor, “a shout.”
As a noun, clamor means
Loud shouting or outcry, vociferation; esp. the excited outcry of vehement appeal, complaint, or opposition: commonly, but not always, implying a mingling of voices.
As an intransitive verb, clamor means
To make a clamour; to shout, or utter loud and continued cries or calls; to raise an outcry, make a noise or din of speech. Said of persons, animals, and instruments of noise.
Clamber, on the other hand, is related to the verb climb. It means
To climb by catching hold with hands and feet; to creep or crawl up (or down); to climb with difficulty and effort.
Speakers who apparently make no distinction in the pronunciation of the the two words substitute clamber for clamor in contexts intended to convey the idea that people are making an outcry over something.
As the most outspoken yoga advocates clamber for more recognition in the scientific community, it is they who become so much more sure of their own beliefs.
The Girl Scout troops that cover Celina, Prosper and Frisco schools are clambering for members this year.
As we mentioned in our last email, after our speech at Mike’s event, we were surrounded by rings of people clambering for more information…
There are many voices out there today, each one clambering for our attention.
She was making a nice little profit on it and kept selling stuff she wasn’t planning on it because people were clambering for more.
It’s not a surprise that Europeans and Americans are clambering for Asian elements.
Even if one pronounces both words as /klăm’ər/, it’s easy to choose the correct one.
Try substituting the word climb or call and see which one makes more sense:
There are many voices out there today, each one climbing for our attention.
There are many voices out there today, each one calling for our attention.
If “climb” makes sense in the context, clamber is the word you want.
If “call” makes more sense, clamor is the word you want.
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