Convey - convoy

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The two words convey (a verb) and convoy (which may be a verb or a noun) not only look similar but also share an etymology, although their meanings have diverged slightly. Academics - and all careful writers - should be careful to distinguish them.

  • The verb 'to convey' is pronounced , always, with the stress on the second syllable, 'c'n-VAY', IPA: /kən ˈveɪ/. It basically means 'to carry', 'to transport. Nowadays it is most often used figuratively in relation to feelings, gratitude, information or ideas meaning 'to communicate', 'to transmit' or, less formally, 'to pass on'; examples are "Please convey my thanks to your wife for the delicious dinner". Sometimes, used of words or writings, etc, it means 'to express', e.g. "Words cannot convey the grief I feel."
    • A conveyance was a 'vehicle', a means of transport. It is now an archaic word, not much used outside literature.
    • Conveyancing is the legal process of formally transferring the ownership of a house or other piece of real estate - selling it, in layman's terms.
  • The verb 'to convoy' means 'to escort', nowadays usually with the meaning of 'defending a [group of] vulnerable carriers with military units'; "To accompany as a guard or armed escort; to provide with a protective escort" (OED 2014, meaning 3.a.). This meaning is normally pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, 'CON-voy', {{IPA|ˈkɒn vɔɪ}
    • The earlier meaning, described by OED as "orig. and chiefly Sc[ots]", was 'to escort, chiefly as a mark of respect or friendship'; 'to guide, lead or conduct'; and 'to escort a woman as a mark of respect or politeness'. In this last meaning, perhaps the strongest surviving, the word is often pronounced in Scots with the accent on the second syllable: 'k'n-VOY', IPA: /kən ˈvɔɪ/. A twentieth century equivalent was the offer by a young man to 'chum' a young woman 'to the corner', say, or 'hame' (~ home).
  • The noun 'a convoy' is always pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, 'CON-voy', {{IPA|ˈkɒn vɔɪ}. A convoy may be the (usually civilian) unit being protected, or the unit formed by the civilians and the escort. Road convoys are normally trucks of supplies guarded against hostile action by combinations of infantry and armour. with aerial support; maritime convoys consist of necessary supply ships, such as bulk carriers and tankers, or troopships, escorted by armed vessels such as destroyers, frigates and aircraft carriers. In Britain, being an island state, maritime convoys have been core battlegrounds in such wars as the Napoleonic War, and the first and second World Wars: in the latter, the winning Battle of the Atlantic was crucial not only to victory but to Britain's very survival.
Etymological note: both convey and convoy are derived from the Latin via, 'road, way' (which becomes voie in modern French), prefixed by con, a form of cum, 'with'. In Northern French, this took the form cunveier; in central French, it was convoier.