Essays / Website news

The Misspelling of ‘Compleat’


The Harry Potter Lexicon

The ‘Error’ in the Title Graphic

This is an email I recently received:

Subject: Flaw on the picture on the main page

I don’t know if this has been called to your attention before, but there’s a typo on the main page. The word “complete” is spelled “compleat” in the sentence “The most compleat and amazing reference to the wonderful world of Harry Potter!”

Since I doubt that this is anything like an Old English spelling stylistic choice that was made deliberately, I think it’s just a typo that has gone unnoticed, and I wanted you guys to know about it so you can fix it.

I’ve received a a few other emails of this type over the years and I have answered each on by telling them the story behind the incorrect spelling. Rather than type it over and over every time I get one of these emails, I figure I’ll create this page about it to let you all in on the secret.

In 1990 I wrote a book called The Complete Encyclopedia of Star Trek The Next Generation – Season One. It was published by a fan publisher and sold at conventions and through the mail. The publisher hired an artist, Dani Lane, to create the cover for the book. She did a beautiful job and I was thrilled to have someone so talented work on my book project. However, her cover included the lettering of the title, and for some reason she or someone working on the project changed the spelling of the word “complete” to “compleat.” My Trekker friends and I thought it was kind of strange that they had used an old-fashioned form of the spelling for a book about Star Trek. I asked the publisher if we could change it, but he said no. So even though the title page inside the book uses the correct spelling, the cover shows this:


This book was really the first encyclopedia project that I’d done which was published in any form, so in a way it is the “original” Steve Vander Ark Lexicon. A few years ago, when I was creating the graphics for the Lexicon’s big upgrade and redesign, I intentionally used the odd spelling for the title banner as an homage to that original encyclopedia. It was simply an inside joke and I just figured no one would even notice. However, enough people have brought it up that I figured I might as well share the story with all of you so you would understand…and not just figure that I couldn’t spell the word ‘complete.’

By the way, I only own one copy of this book. It was originally written on a Commodore 64 using geoWrite, so I don’t even have access to the text files anymore. So no, I can’t sell you a copy (and there are much better encyclopedias of Star Trek available now anyway).


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