Those damn pixies

A month or two ago, I was editing a story when I came across a reference to an image being pixilated. I looked that up, thinking it was a misspelling, since it is a reference to the image's pixels, with an e. I was right, but what I didn't know was that pixilated is a real word with a very different meaning from pixelated. Pixelated, of course, menas "Of an image: captured, reproduced, or displayed as pixels, usually with a grainy or low-resolution result, specifically of parts of a televisual or photographic image deliberately blurred in this way, for purposes of censorship or to maintain the anonymity of the subject," as the OED puts it.

Pixilated , however, means, "Slightly crazed; bewildered, confused; fey, whimsical; (also) intoxicated," the OED says.

Pixilated has its origin in the word pixie, and compares with the earlier pixie-led, which means, "Led astray by pixies; lost; bewildered, confused," according to the OED. It is interesting that the word evolved from meaning bewitched by spirits, to being confused or bewildered, to being drunk.

I did think of one instance where pixelated and pixilated intersect. If you've ever watched a show like Cops, the suspect's face is usually blurred. And the same suspect is often intoxicated. So you have a pixilated assailant whose face is pixelated.