Catachresis: Department of No Such Word: *chaise lounge
chaise longue – noun: a chair, with or without arms, for reclining, having a seat lengthened to form a complete leg rest and sometimes an adjustable back.
Got that? Please note the spelling: the second word is LONGUE. The second word is not LOUNGE. I know, I know—the word LONGUE looks like LOUNGE. It even has the same letters, although in a different order, but it’s not the same word, it really isn’t.
CHAISE is a French word meaning “chair.” And the French word LONGUE does not mean “lounge,” it means “long.” So “chaise longue” is French for “long chair,” NOT “lounge chair.” Even though it’s a chair used for lounging.
You have two choices: you can call the “chair, with or without arms, for reclining, etc.,” either a chaise longue (note spelling) or a lounge chair. You may NOT call it a chaise lounge, which is neither good French nor good English and does not mean anything.
If you decide to call it a chaise longue, you should pronounce it “shez long,” rather than “shays long,” although I would always accept the latter in preference to “shays lounge.”
(For an explanation of catachresis, see the post for January 28.)