I think I need to make an apology.
You may recall that last April, I poked a little fun at a flyer announcing the arrival of a "distinguised" speaker at my university.
Some rudimentary Googling later, it appears I was too hasty in my self-righteous snickering.
Sure, all the dictionaries I rely on list only "distinguished" as a real word, and Yahoo is like, "Dude, we're pretty sure you actually meant 'distinguished'," but a look at the search results shows other academic institutions (some of them pretty distinguished themselves) use the term too. And seriously - can 100,000 Google hits all be wrong?!*
I'm not fully convinced it's a real and interchangeable alternative, but hey, if the British can get away with spelling things souper crazy, then why not let a missing "h" slide in our hallowed halls of academia?**
So if you need me, I'll be here in the corner wearing a pretty distinguised-looking dunce cap.
*Answer: Goodness gracious yes.
**Answer: Because pretty soon computer geeks will think it's perfectly OK when they spell absolutely everything wrong.