Saturday, May 30, 2015

Eggcorn! new-to-me perfect word 6WS

 Me? I'm the original Cross Eyed Bear that you sing about in the hymn...

It turns out, and I expect a lot of blogistas knew this already, that the slips people make when they hit the wrong word, such as wheelbarrel for wheelbarrow, have a name!  Coined by a linguist feller who was studying the word eggcorn spoken in mistake for acorn, it seemed like the perfect word for the phenomenon.

The thing is that eggcorns aren't just wrong hearing, and they're not intended to be funny, they're a genuine miss, but in some ways they are perfectly right, too.  

Take eggcorn:  an acorn does look like an egg in a cup.  Or my dear friend who went to Paris and was charmed by the residents there, whom she called the Parishioners -- cities do act parochially, like a lot of villages with their own center of activity and shopping and social life, so it was so wrong it was right.

And there's human cry, for hue and cry, which is deadly accurate for a different sort of concept, the suffering behind the hue and cry. Old Timers' Disease for Alzheimer's Disease.  And old wise tale, for old wives' tale, because it's probably true!

But they're not intended to be puns or jokes. We are not including the cat who ate the cheese then crouched by the mousehole with baited breath.  However, full disclosure: when I typed mousehole, it first came out as mousehold, which is a great eggcorn right there..

Dear Readers:  please chime in with your own favorite eggcorns.  Extra credit for brilliant folks who can do it in six words!


  1. "catsafterme" for catastrophe. you know the minute you hear it what it means

  2. The cat with the baited breath stole my breathe away! I was not ready for that pun!


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