From Lars Ingebrigtsen and Ned Deily, this blog comment with the puzzling expression run around the ringer (boldfaced in the quote):

(1) … it’s getting burned by these borderline deceptive tactics that drive small software companies to begin to take harder stances on things like this. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been run around the ringer for discounts, extra support, customizations, etc. only to suddenly not hear from the person anymore, or find out they went with someone else with absolutely no explanation. (link)

That has the expression in a passive. Here’s one with a nominalized version, then three more passives:

(2) Sorry to hear of your twice bad luck now, unfornutately I’ve found that’s typical sometimes of such large corporations. You probably dealt with some micro-middle manager that dosen’t really give a flip about one personal consumer….. so your complaints are basically useless. But that’s normal because typically that manager’s employer cares as little about him/her as he does about you. So what do you get?, a run around the ringer until they finally get you off their back. (link)

(3) Modern is just a retailer, however, when they give an ETA, then another ETA, then another ETA, you get to wondering whats going on.

I have been run around the ringer by Modern several times 2 weeks ago I was told by Modern my order was mistakinly not processed by Flight Systems but they would expedite it and have it to me with in a week. Well, no Stage 1. (link)

(4) am tagging this one under “privilege” to remind you, the reader, if you are able-bodied and able-minded, that I, the bitch, the cripple, am subsidizing your health care. And that woman in the Section 8 housing who just got evicted because of the money she’s spent getting run around the ringer about those abnormal cells on her Pap test? She is subsidizing the yearly checkup you don’t even bother to get most of the time. (link)

(5) I must say that I’m impressed with Florida’s grade. Overall a B+, with use getting an A-. Not bad for a state that is run around the ringer for its educational system. There’s still hope for us though, I think. (link)

These are all the examples I googled up.

The first four look like a blend of the idiom run (someone) through the wringer (a not infrequent variant of put (someone) through the wringer ‘give someone a hard time’), in an eggcorned version run through the ringer, with the slang run-around ‘deceptive or delaying action, esp. in response to a request’ (as in give someone a/the run-around, get a/the run-around from someone). Certainly, these four have both meaning components, the hard time and the delaying action.

But (5) has only the hard-time component and might represent an extension of the mash-up of blend and eggcorn in (1)-(4).

It’s possible that the idiom run rings around and the name of the children’s game Ring Around the Rosie, with their three /r/’s at the beginning of stressed syllables, may have made purely phonological contributions to the mash-up, which also has three.

[Notes on ring/wring eggcorns (or spelling confusions):

wringer > ringer in put through the ringer is in the Eggcorn Database, here, and Paul Brians’s Common Errors, here;

the opposite substitution, ringer > wringer in dead wringer, is in ecdb, here;

wring > ring in ring someone’s neck, ring one’s hands is in ecdb, here, and wring > ring in ring someone’s/something’s neck is in Brians, here.]


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: