Yesterday I had to go to a funeral. There was a complete order of service, as is normal these days, and I was rather surprised to see, not once, but three times, reference to the deceased’s “internment”. This had nothing to do with service in the IRA during the Northern Irish Troubles, but was telling us where his body was to lie after the ceremony. I put the confusion down to poor proof-reading in the hurry to produce the sheet in time, so I was very much taken aback to hear the priest in charge (this was a very high Anglican funeral, complete with request for God to bless the Pope – Henry VIII would not have been amused), having told us that the body would be interred in the parish burial ground, go on to invite all members of the congregation to attend the “internment”. The order of service was clearly deliberately spelled in that way.
Ironically, in her eulogy, the widow told us that one of the things her late husband had always hated, and pointed out in books and newspapers, was misspelling.
inter = bury
intern = imprison without trial
interment = burial
internment = imprisonment without trial