What is your pick? Which word comes to your mind first? Appraisal, appraise or apprise? I am willing to stick my neck out and say that most of the readers’ choice would be appraisal. The choice is not surprising. With almost everyone having a stake in appraisal system in the workplace, the choice is hardly unexpected. The word ‘appraisal’ has come under sharper focus after the downturn in the world economy and the rewards and benefits pie becoming more and more dearer and thinner.
Appraise is a poor second in the order of choice. How often do we hear this word? Not much, I’d say. At least not when NOT in the context of year-end appraisals. For example, we don’t often hear ‘appraise’ in the context of (say) an art critic appraising works of art. ‘Appraise’ is more often than not tied to appraisals.
What about ‘apprise’? This word is really a distant third today. However, it wasn’t quite like this a century ago. As the below ngram chart shows, ‘apprise’ was the toast till about the mid nineteenth century. Its standing plummeted around 1910 never to gain favor again. ‘Apprise’ is a staid and bureaucratic word. It is part of the bureaucratic lexicon. We know that words like ‘apprise’ and ‘peruse’ are part of bureaucratic folklore. But world over, bureaucracy is being cut down. Alongside the usage of the words like ‘apprise’, and ‘peruse’, are taking a beating.
Notice also that ‘appraisal’ has been going steadily downhill from the last decade of the twentieth century. With evermore flat organizational structures, will appraisals be a thing of the past? Only time will tell.