Ann Althouse discovers the eggcorn

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… or something very close to it, under the heading

Proposal for a new kind of slang following the pattern "metal fork" for "metaphor"

The idea is to replace boring abstract words with very specific concrete things that sound pretty close to the original word. I'd like to build on the single example of "metal fork" for "metaphor."

This idea is based on a recent mishearing. Did I hear "metaphor" and think I heard "metal fork" or was it the other way around?

Here the re-shaping began with a mishearing, which Althouse then reproduced deliberately. When such a re-shaping happens without conscious design, we have some sort of malapropism, and when the re-shaping yields something that seems (to some people) to be especially appropriate semantically, we have an eggcorn (hundreds of examples on the Eggcorn Database).

I've written about deliberately invented examples under the name mock, or play, malaprops. See my posting on "mock eggcorns and their kin", with examples of several sorts.

(Hat tip to Bruce Webster.)


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