Reverse eggcorns?

Ben Slade posted last week on his blog (Stæfcræft & Vyākaraṇa) on some phenomena in the language of reggae music, under the heading:

Overstand the downpression of the kin-dread by outformers: On what to call “reverse eggcorns” in Dread Talk

Kin-dread here is a pretty standard eggcorn (though it’s a deliberate play on words), with kindred reinterpreted as having the second element dread (metonymically referring to Rastafarians, or sometimes to people in general); the reinterpretation turns on phonology. But the other three are different (though they’re also deliberate), since the reinterpretation turns primarily on semantics, in particular the semantics of opposition.

So: overstand is an intended improvement on understand, on the grounds that the under in understand would suggest low comprehension, while its opposite over would (correctly) suggest high comprehension.

Similarly for downpress in downpression: if oppress is understood as up-press, then it would seem to mean ‘lift up’, and so it should be reanalyzed as downpress ‘press down’.

Finally, outformer replaces the usually positive in- of informer with the more explicitly negative out-.

There are more: livicate ‘dedicate’ (live vs. dead) and blindgarette ‘cigarette’ (blind vs. see).

At a loss for terminology, Slade hit on reverse eggcorns. In the spirit of the way eggcorns were named, I’d suggesting calling them overstandings.

One Response to “Reverse eggcorns?”

  1. Kem Luther Says:

    I suggested the name “pickled eggcorns” on one of the eggcorn forum posts:

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