Antennas    vs
           Antennae

 

 We often get corrected by those who are sticklers for old English!  At Wireless, we use Antennas as the plural.  Most dictionaries  define   Antennas as the plural of aerials and  Antennae for the pairs of feelers on the head of an insect.

Regardless of modern dictionary definitions, the original latin form  is  of   course  antennae.  And  the   derivation?  Apparently Guglielimo Marconi himself first used the term in a lecture in 1909,  some  eight  years  after his first successful transmissions across the Atlantic.  It is believed that the reason Marconi chose this term was  that  the antenna he referred to in this lecture was shaped much like a sail, with the Latin word “antema”  (sic.) indicating the pole of the triangular sails on some Mediterranean vessels of the time.  He  continued  to use the word in subsequent papers and the word with its current meaning was born.

And aerial?   That  is  simple  enough,  with  the  first   antennas (or antennae if you prefer) used by Marconi  being elevated wire systems.  Marconi used the descriptive term aerial before moving to the new term, antenna, in later papers.

 

Reprinted from RFI Wave Newsletter