Words Ending in "-ical"

A slight majority of words ending in "-ical" are redundant. Roughly half of the words ending in "-ical" have forms that end in a simple "-ic". Why struggle to be ornately poetical when your language can be simply poetic?

Redundant -ical Words

(84 words)

acoustical, aeronautical, allegorical, alphabetical, analytical, anarchical, anatomical, anthropological, antihistorical, antithetical, archeological, arithmetical, astronomical, autobiographical, bibliographical, biographical, biological, botanical, canonical, categorical, chronological, cubical, cyclical, cylindrical, economical, ecumenical, electrical, elliptical, eremitical, evangelical, geographical, geological, geometrical, graphical, hermeneutical, hierarchical, hypothetical, ideological, ironical, lexicographical, liturgical, logistical, lyrical, maniacal, mathematical, metaphorical, morphological, mythical, neurological, nonmathematical, nonnumerical, numerical, parasitical, parenthetical, pathological, pedagogical, philosophical, physiological, poetical, problematical, prototypical, psychological, quadratical, sabbatical, semantical, spherical, stereotypical, stoical, symmetrical, syntactical, tautological, technological, teleological, theatrical, theological, theoretical, topological, tragical, typical, typographical, tyrannical, umbilical, uneconomical, zoological

Essential -ical Words

(73 words)

analogical, apical, astrophysical, atypical, audiological, axiological, biblical, biochemical, biomedical, biophysical, chemical, classical, clerical, clinical, comical, cortical, critical, cynical, diacritical, ecclesiastical, electromechanical, empirical, epistemological, ethical, farcical, geophysical, grammatical, helical, heretical, historical, hysterical, identical, illogical, impractical, inimical, lexical, logical, magical, mechanical, medical, metamathematical, metaphysical, methodical, methodological, metrical, musical, mystical, nautical, noncritical, nonsensical, nontechnical, ontological, optical, paradoxical, periodical, phenomenological, physical, political, practical, quizzical, radical, rhetorical, skeptical, sociological, statistical, surgical, tactical, technical, topical, tropical, ungrammatical, vertical, whimsical


The roots of some of these words, though now nouns, were originally adjectives ("music" - of the Muses, "cleric" - of the clergy). Other words, such as "comic", have meanings that overlap their "-ical" counterpart, yet are distinct.

I still think "paradoxic" is just as good as "paradoxical", even if it isn't a real word. Perhaps this whole endeavor has finally become toxical to my common sense.

This isn't an exhaustive list. If you can think of more, please send them. Don't ask me why a particular word is in one category or the other; I'm going by what's in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition.

Open source software was used in the creation of this page. A big fuzzy grep to Glacier for his help.

Last updated 28 September 2004
All contents ©1999-2002 Mark L. Irons