Amy (citharadraconis) wrote in linguaphiles,

Consensual vs. consentual?

Hello, fellow linguaphiles!

I have a question about a nonstandard spelling--"consentual" for "consensual." I've always understood the second to be correct and the first to be a very annoying typo. I recently came across multiple people who defended the first spelling as an acceptable variant, and linked me to dictionary.com, which indeed includes an entry for "consentual" dating from 2006. I know dictionary.com isn't the most reliable of references, and neither the OED nor Merriam-Webster includes "consentual." I had classed "consentual" with typos like "existance" and "definately," neither of which appear in a dictionary, but "consentual" appears to be considered slightly more legitimate than the latter two. I was wondering if it had perhaps recently become more acceptable due to frequency of use, or if it could be a regional thing (I'm American, if it matters). Is it really that common a variant? How much legitimacy does it actually have? I'd appreciate it if you language buffs and linguists could weigh in on this.
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