Stationery vs Stationary

Many people mis-spell, maybe inadvertently, the generic word for the various office products that you may find in or on your desk, ie. stationary is often used instead of stationery. These two words are homonyms, which means that the two words sound the same but have very different meanings.

The following definitions may help to differentiate the two words.


Stationary comes from the Latin stationarius, meaning "belonging to a military station".

Pronuncation: sta_tion_ar_y / stey_shuh_ner_ee /

Adjective: Not moving or not intended to be moved.

E.g. "A van collided with a stationary vehicle"


Stationery comes from the Middle English noun staciouner, which means a bookseller.

Pronuncation: sta_tion_er_y/ stey_shuh_ner_ee /

Noun: Writing paper, especially with matching envelopes. Office Supplies.

E.g. A4 Copier Paper, Pens & Pencils, Lever Arch Files

How to remember.

If you want office supplies, ie. paper, envelopes, pens and pencils, etc. you want Stationery.

Think of the  e  for envelopes and you will get it right every time.

But no matter how you spell it, here at Rytetype Business Supplies we don't mind, we just want to supply you with it.



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