Whole heartily

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Rod Dreher, 'The Coming Methodist Schism", 3/11/2014, quoting an anonymous Methodist pastor:

One of my more moderate theology professors once told me that you could take the platform of the Democrat Party, take out the Party name and replace it with God and the UMC and most all of the faculty, staff, administration, and student body would whole heartily support it.

A literal global replacement of "Democrat(s)" with "God and the UMC" in the 2012 Democratic Party platform produces somewhat bizarre results — the first sentence becomes (with the replacement-site in bold face)

Four years ago, God and the UMC, independents, and many Republicans came together as Americans to move our country forward.

And the third paragraph (with pluralization to preserve grammaticality) starts

We Gods and the UMC offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out.

But anyhow, the reason that Kim Temple sent me a link to Mr. Dreher's article was not to give me this opportunity for substitutional humor, but rather to point out the charming eggcornish blend "whole heartily".

"Whole heartily" is obviously a substitution for the more conventional "whole heartedly", which is an adverbial form of the phrase "whole hearted".

Constructions of the form ADJECTIVE BODYPART+ed are common in English: red faced, heavy handed, light fingered, red headed. The pattern is a productive one — I'm pretty sure I've never heard the phrase "magenta eyed", but I don't have a problem with it, and neither do plenty of people who have used it on the web. But many common phrases of this general form are quasi-idiomatic, so that "half hearted" and "whole hearted" work a lot better than "quarter hearted" or "third hearted" do.

And there seem to be some constraints on making adverbial forms of these expressions in -ly. My initial impression, which I don't have time to follow up in more detail, is that you need a body-part ending in /t/ or /d/ so that -ed takes the form [əd] rather than [t] or [d]. Thus "heavy handedly" works for me, but "light fingeredly" and "red facedly" definitely don't. There's also apparently some kind of semantic constraint, so that "red headedly" is odd because hair color just doesn't make for a good manner adverbial.

Anyhow, "whole heartedly" is just about as common as "whole hearted", but neither one is an everyday occurrence — about 0.01 to 0.02 per million:

The adjective hearty and the associated adverb heartily are much more common — about 4 per million for hearty, and  1 per million for heartily. So it's not surprising that some people lexicalize "whole heartedly" as the faux idiom "whole heartily", even though "whole hearty" is not there as a source. And indeed "whole heartily" is Out There — and it was noted in the Eggcorn Forum back in 2009.




  1. Coby Lubliner said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 10:57 am

    Is it possible that -edly works when -ed is syllabic but not when it's just a stop?

    [(myl) That was my hypothesis, based on thinking about a handful of examples. And e.g. "red facèdly" works a lot better than "red facedly" pronounced [ˌɹɛdˈfeɪst.li]

  2. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 11:28 am

    COCA has 16 hits for "heartedly"; 14 of which are preceded by "whole," "full," or "half," and the other two of which are obvious eggcorns (or mistranscriptions) for "heartily," so the confusion works in the other direction as well. Is there any evidence for the use of "heartedly" as a free-standing morpheme in modern English outside these fixed combinations (and perhaps a few others as e.g. with "faint")?

  3. David said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 11:46 am

    The same pastor wrote "I serve a church that worships around 300," meaning that about 300 people usually attend worship services there. "Worship" seems to have gone the way of "sleep," as in "this room sleeps four."

  4. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

    To answer my own question, I guess the analysis above is that "-edly" gets suffixed (whether in one step or two) to a pre-existing ADJ+BODYPART combination, not to BODYPART on a freestanding basis. For "heart," at least, I suspect that the "BODYPART" piece is a bit tricky because the ADJ may need to be one that is conventionally applied to metaphorical hearts (faint, black, light, gay, cold, what have you), not actual anatomical hearts. You wouldn't say arrhythmic-heartedly, would you? With the BODYPART "eye," by contrast, both anatomical qualities ("blue-eyed") and metaphorical ones ("cold-eyed") seem ok. (There is some reason to think that that "brown-eyed" in certain old song lyrics is a euphemism for "brown-skinned," but that's a different issue.)

  5. Stephen R. Anderson said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    The -ed in whole heartedly is probably the one that makes denominal adjectives (three-legged), not the verbal (participial) ending. There are minimal pairs: e.g. a well aged wine vs. an agèd crone, a lesson learned vs. a learnèd professor, etc. Before -ly, we basically get only the second one: learnèdly, etc. Phonologically, the difference seems to be that the participial ending is underlyingly non-syllabic /-d/ while the one at stake here is syllabic /-@d/. There's an epenthesis rule (or gestural separation, in Articulatory Phonology terms) that gives the syllabic form of the participle ending, and a syncope rule that gives the non-syllabic form of the other one (in e.g. embarrassedly). There's probably a good discussion of this in Huddleston and Pullum, which I don't have access to at the moment, but I discussed these matters in connection with the general question of the phonology of the English inflectional endings a long time ago in Anderson, Stephen R. (1973). "Remarks on the Phonology of English Inflection." Language & Literature I(4):33-52 (rather obscure publication, available from my web page at cowgill.ling.yale.edu/sra). Not that I believe everything I said there, but this particular distinction is, I think, quite real and in need of some more exploration.

  6. pj said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

    'Shame-facedly' with syllabic -ed (though shame-faced is -[st]) is fine and familiar to me (BrEng). 'Red-facedly' I don't remember encountering, but it wouldn't bother me: I'd pronounce it with syllabic -ed too.

  7. Dick Margulis said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 1:46 pm

    myl: Try the ngram viewer again with the standard dictionary compounds wholehearted and wholeheartedly rather than the open compounds. You'll find much greater frequency, with wholeheartedly more than double wholehearted and both at least an order of magnitude larger than the open versions.

    David (worships 300, sleeps 4): My wife told me once about a boat she and her first husband rented in the Virgin Islands. His description of the size was "sleeps four, fucks eight."

  8. PLL said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

    "whole heartedly" is just about as common as "whole hearted", but neither one is an everyday occurrence — about 0.01 to 0.02 per million

    This seems like just an orthographical artefact. The single-word spellings wholehearted, wholeheartedly register counts about fifty times higher, at 0.6 and 1.2 per million respectively. (The hyphenated versions whole-hearted[ly] are somewhere in between the single-word and two-word versions.)

    [(myl) Good point -- I should have checked that...]

  9. Henry Clay said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 1:52 pm

    Am I the only one who parses the original statement quite differently? I assumed Dreher's quote was suggesting that if you replace the Party with "God", then the UMC, faculty et. al. would support it.

    This leads the second example to read "God offers America the opportunity to move forward…", which wouldn't sound all that strange coming from a protestant organization.

  10. Dick Margulis said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    Henry Clay: You're probably correct about the parsing, but a comma after God (to separate the independent clauses) would have taken the humor out of myl's digression. Its omission would be flagged as an error by any competent editor, had Dreher thought editing worthwhile.

  11. chris said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

    With the BODYPART "eye," by contrast, both anatomical qualities ("blue-eyed") and metaphorical ones ("cold-eyed") seem ok.

    For the adjective, sure. But "he stared at me cold-eyedly" is a little odd, at best, and "he stared at me blue-eyedly" is just weird (probably for the same reason discussed in the OP).

    As for smaller fractions of a heart, I think that the need for them doesn't come up often, but if someone said "That isn't even half-hearted, it's only quarter-hearted", I would understand what it meant and not be particularly boggled by the construction, even though it is a rare one.

  12. Avinor said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    Can someone explain the notation with the grave accent?

  13. Bill W said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

    Another charming eggcorn along the same lines as whole heartily: single handily.


  14. Dick Margulis said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 3:23 pm

    Avinor: It just means the "ed" is pronounced as a separate syllable, to distinguish from the pronunciation of the other form. "e.g. a well aged wine vs. an agèd crone, a lesson learned vs. a learnèd professor, etc.," as noted in Stephen Anderson's comment above.

  15. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

    Some adverbs, even though well-formed, not peculiar-sounding (at least to my ear) and semantically transparent according to this pattern, seem extremely rare in comparison to the related adjective. E.g., "black-heartedly" (even combining results with "blackheartedly") occurs barely 20 times in the google books corpus, whereas "black-hearted" occurs >1000 times (the first, possibly inflated, count was about 48,000, but I can't get past page 100 of the results, e.g. the first thousand hits, to see how inflated that might or might not be).

    Admittedly, adjectives are typically more common that their derived adverbs, but I would have thought less extreme ratios would be typical. The furious:furiously ratio seems to be (per the google books n-gram viewer) on the order of 2.5:1, and (in case that data is uniquely contaminated by a surfeit of instances involving colorless green ideas) the happy:happily ratio is somewhere between 6:1 and 7:1. The quite possibly >100:1 black-hearted:black-heartedly ratio seems like an outlier, even though you'd expect a fair amount of variation between particular pairs. There are obviously pairs like orange:orangely where the contexts in which the need for the adverb would arise may themselves for semantic/pragmatic reasons be extremely rare outside of surrealist poetry, but you'd think that the sort of people who could be described as black-hearted would quite often engage in acts that could be described as being done in a black-hearted manner, thus black-heartedly.

  16. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

    Why just body parts? Can't you make the same kind of compound lots of kinds of parts and appurtenances? High-spirited youths, wire-rimmed glasses, smooth-grained wood, two-wheeled vehicle….

    I like writing them hyphenated (or solid where usage warrants) much better than writing them open.

    A goose, tobacco and cologne
    Three winged and gold-shod prophecies of heaven,
    The lavish heart shall always have to leaven
    And spread with bells and voices, and atone
    The abating shadows of our conscript dust.

    —Hart Crane, "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen"

    That's not an example of perfect punctuation, but the hyphen helps.

  17. mollymooly said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

    A few not-utterly-contrived ghits each for:

    lily-liveredly (DH Lawrence), tin-earedly, open-armedly, hare-brainedly, cross-leggedly.

    My preference for -èdly over -'dly varies widely among them.

  18. Matt said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 7:22 pm

    As a non-rhotic speaker, I'm fine with "fingeredly", "liveredly", etc., because the corresponding adjectives end in [əd] for me, exactly the same as "hearted" (as far as I can tell). I think the particular case of "-eredly" is one that is difficult to explore using written samples alone.

    There are obviously pairs like orange:orangely where the contexts in which the need for the adverb would arise may themselves for semantic/pragmatic reasons be extremely rare outside of surrealist poetry, but you'd think that the sort of people who could be described as black-hearted would quite often engage in acts that could be described as being done in a black-hearted manner, thus black-heartedly.

    I dunno, my intuition is that "black-hearted" is qualitatively different from "cold-hearted" in that the former can only describe an inherent (if changable) characteristic of an individual, whereas the latter can also describe the manner in which an act is performed. You can cold-heartedly ignore someone, but what would it mean to black-heartedly ignore them? It sounds like humorous hyperbole to me, as if a whole career of evil were somehow expressed in the simple act of ignoring someone.

  19. Levantine said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 7:56 pm

    Matt, what variety of non-rhotic English do you speak? In my (London) accent, the final syllables of "livered" and "hearted" sound very different (only the first is a schwa).

  20. Matt said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 8:08 pm

    Melburnian Australian, and the weak vowel merger is complete for me (as far as I can tell) so I have what sounds to me at least like [hɑːtəd] instead of e.g. [hɑːtɪd].

  21. Levantine said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    Ah, thanks! I always loved that feature of Australian English when I watched Aussie soaps growing up.

  22. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 12, 2014 @ 8:45 pm

    Matt: well, the cold-hearted:cold-heartedly ratio is a mere approx 40:1 (and the joined-up coldhearted:coldheartedly ratio maybe as low as 25:1 – I don't know how to tweak the n gram viewer to get an aggregate ratio by mushing the different spellings together), so you may be on to something. Not nearly as skewed as my "black-" example, but still a lot more skewed than my (perhaps misleading because of inadequate sample size or other factors) normal-adjective baseline.

    Your use of the phrase "career of evil" reminds me that the Blue Oyster Cult anthology of that title contains a version of "Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll," whose opening lyrics ("My heart is black / And my lips are cold / etc etc.") were on my mind when I decided to try black-hearted in my corpus-trawling earlier today, although I decided the lack of attested instances of "cold-lippedly" was not worth mentioning as probably adequately accounted for (either semantic or prosodic factors) in the previous analysis. (Adjectival "cold-lipped" is attested but rare; it seems to have appealed to a certain sort of 19th century poet.)

  23. Robert said,

    March 13, 2014 @ 10:12 am

    I see that "hale heartedly" gets plenty of hits.

  24. Daniel said,

    March 13, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

    Just spotted in Gay Talese's 'Thy Neighbor's Wife': "balm-palmed masseuses." Effective as a tongue-twister if nothing else.

  25. Jerry Friedman said,

    March 13, 2014 @ 4:17 pm

    Have linguists studied how the pronunciations "allegèd", "markèd", and "supposèd" arose for the adjectives, at least for some Americans? I feel they came from the pronunciations of "allegedly", "markedly", and "supposedly", but maybe Stephen R. Anderson would have a different explanation.

    And his paper mentions the people who say both "learned" and "learnt". Has anyone studied the distinction? Steve Hayes, a South African, said in alt.usage.english:

    "'I learned my lesson" means that I spent time learning it. "I learnt my lesson" means I retained the knowledge.'

    He implied that such distinctions are common in South Africa. Some posters had distinctions between "burned" and "burnt" as well. Steve said:

    'The house burned all night.
    The house burnt to the ground.

    'The fire burned brightly.
    The fire burnt out.'

    He uses "burned" for something that was burning at the time described and "burnt" for something that is no longer burning then. On the other hand, here's an interchange between him and an American woman:

    Me: So for you, "burnt" is "charred" and "burned" is "set on fire"? (Or as young Americans say, "lit on fire".)

    Christel Davies: Precisely! I have a burn on my arm from my stove from couple weeks ago. When people asks what's that, I explain that I burnt my arm. Saying "I burned my arm" sounds to me like I'm trying to say I caught my arm on fire.

    Steve Hayes: For me it is slightly different.

    If I say "I burnt my arm" it means I accidentally touched a hot surface with it and it got burnt.

    If I say "I burned my arm" I would mean that I held a flame to it deliberately.

  26. Joel said,

    March 14, 2014 @ 3:08 pm

    I'm with you, Henry, but I'm thinking Mark also realized this but just thought it would be funny to exploit the ambiguity.

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