Archive for the ‘Eggcorns’ Category

Today’s fine eggcorn

October 5, 2013

From the (Palo Alto) Daily News of October 4th, this letter from Tejinder Uberoi of Los Altos:

Unconcerned that the nation is going to hell in a hen basket, the tired old men of the Republican Party are circling the wagons in a last-ditch effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Hen basket (or henbasket) for handbasket (or hand basket), making somewhat more sense of an opaque idiom (opaque for people who aren’t familiar with the compound handbasket) whose only virtue appears to be its alliteration; well, you collect eggs in a basket. Still, such a basket is awfully small for going to hell in, as is a handbasket.


Odds and ends 8/14/13

August 14, 2013

An assortment of short notes that have come my way recently, on errors, back-formations, penguins, gender roles, and more.


Briefly noted: mind-bottling

May 18, 2013

Just went past me on KFJC (Foothill College in Los Altos Hills CA), in an aural montage, this exchange from the 2007 movie Blades of Glory:

Chazz: Mind-bottling, isn’t it?

Jimmy: Did you just say mind-bottling?

Chazz: Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle? (link)

A lovely eggcorn for mind-boggling (noted on the Eggcorn Forum, but not yet in the database), complete with the mark of a great eggcorn find, the speaker’s rationalization for the form they use.


An unfortunate mishearing

April 9, 2013

From Victor Steinbok on ADS-L, a link to a HuffPost Comedy posting with this photograph:


One Big Happy roundup

March 17, 2013

Four recent language-related cartoons from Rick Detorie’s strip One Big Happy (information on the strip here): two with mishearings/eggcorns, one on consonant clusters, and one on ambiguity.


perils of wisdom

March 13, 2013

Reported this morning by Mike Jankulak from a mailing list he’s subscribed to:

Also Ryan, I had sent you a question on the other group in hope you might have some perils of wisdom to share there.

(Perils of wisdom for pearls of wisdom.) In context, this doesn’t seem intentional, but the question is what sort of unintentional error it represents: an eggcorn, a mishearing, a simple misspelling, or what? These things are often hard to decide, and the perpetrators might or might not be able to shed light on things. And of course the source of one occurrence might be different from the sources of others.


Eggcorns on the net

February 21, 2013

Today’s “A.Word.A.Day” posting from Anu Garg is about the word eggcorn.


concordance ‘example, occurrence’

January 30, 2013

Back on December 5, Lynne Murphy reported in Facebook about an essay-marking game — drinking a shot of liquor or eating something whenever a particular expression occurred in a student essay:

‘concordance’ to mean ‘example found in a corpus’, as in ‘COCA has three concordances of this collocation’.

… I’ve read this so many times, that I actually looked it up to see if this terminology was polysemous in ways I had not yet appreciated.

(No evidence for it I could find in dictionaries.)

So an error, but what kind? Mishearing (of occurrences)? Classical malapropism (perhaps as a result of learning the technical term concordance)? Eggcorn? Examples like this can be remarkably hard to classify.



January 28, 2013

Early this month, some discussion on ADS-L about cow-tailing / cowtailing, set off by Jon Lighter’s quoting from the Wordnik entry on cow-tail, which has plenty of examples of references to cow’s tails and things resembling them, but also this quote from Talking Points Memo:

This Republican is convinced that Barack Obama represents the very best option for this country if for no other reason it is because he refuses to cow-tail to the antics of the DNC.

That’s cow-tail for kowtow, pretty clearly an eggcorn — a reanalysis of the expression that finds two familiar parts in it, though what kowtowing has to do with cow’s tails is entirely unclear.

Four things: some irrelevancies to get out of the way; more eggcornish examples of cowtail; earlier blog discussion of the variant cow-tow; and the developing semantics of kowtow.


Putting the man in manicure

January 13, 2013

Today’s Zits reanalyzes the word manicure:

Girls get their nails done at a salon, guys bite theirs.



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