New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city in preparation for Hurricane Gustav. He had warned that such a move might be necessary on Thursday night, at a press conference with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. A clip of Nagin speaking at the press conference was played in a segment on NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday. I've isolated some of the audio here:
This is, this is serious business, and
we would not be calling for a mandatory evacuation
unless we thought there was a serious threat
and I think most people will adheed [æd'hid] to that.
Though he clearly said [æd'hid], NPR transcribed it rather differently in its online article:
"This is serious business. We would not be calling for a mandatory evacuation unless we thought there was a serious threat," Nagin said. "And I think most people will pay heed to that."
The NPR transcriber gave Nagin the benefit of the doubt, replacing nonstandard adheed with standard pay heed. But adheed is an intriguing formation not limited to Nagin's idiolect. It would appear to be a blend of (pay/give) heed and adhere, with semantic elements of both. A mandatory evacuation, after all, is something that residents should both pay heed to and adhere to. Here are a few online examples with the spelling adheed (the first one, as it happens, relating to hurricane warnings):
So maybe people did adheed to the good word of warning, therefore one would assume that the losses would be cut in half, if not more. (RPGForums.com)
but thanks for the warning…..I'll adheed to it, and be extra careful pulling up in my rental car, etc… (Roadfood.com forum)
I hope that someone adheed to comments placed and correct them before someone is hurt. (Citysearch)
On water bottles there is always an expiration date, is it crucial that I adheed to that? (Yahoo! Answers)
And it sometimes shows up spelled as adhede:
They can practice their religion but adhede to the laws of the land. (thoughts.com)
Adhede to this advice for success! (McKendree University Student Ambassadors)
Yet, she stubornly refused to adhede to their request, and rather insisted on her "right" to sit where she chooses. (RabbiHorowitz.com)
Pay/give heed and adhere share certain characteristics that make them ripe for blending: they are relatively low-frequency lexical items with overlapping semantic domains (paying attention to something vs. being devoted in supporting something) and similar syntactic frames (they both take prepositional phrase complements with to). Add to that the phonological overlap that allows the creation of the fused form [æd'hid] or [əd'hid], and the blendability seems almost overdetermined.
My apologies to embattled New Orleanians for focusing on a linguistic oddity as they face a potential reprise of Hurricane Katrina's devastation three years later. But hey, linguistic oddities are our bread and butter around here.