Archive for Eggcorns

Belgian whistles

This one isn't in the Eggcorn Database, and doesn't seem to be mentioned in the forum either. [But googling the phrase is not recommended…]

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The New Yorker baubles it

Yesterday, The New Yorker posted an article on its website: "The Error in Baseball and the Moral Dimension to American Life," by Stephen Marche. As originally published, the article contained this paragraph (emphasis mine):

In practice, “ordinary effort” describes, as Bill James wrote, what should have happened. What should have happened in a piece of fielding can have nothing to do with the play of the fielder. Utter offered me a case: The runner hits the ball into the outfield, the fielder baubles the ball, and the runner advances to second. Is that an error? It depends. “What we would have to look at is—is it a single or is it a double? Or is it a single and advance on an error or on the throw?” The way that the scorer determines whether that bauble is an error or not has less to do with the action of the fielder than with the action of the runner. “Was the runner going all the time? Did he never think about stopping at first? Or was he running and looking at the play and then slowed down a little bit and then took off when he saw the little bauble?” If he paused, noticed the misplay, and ran to second, “That becomes the error.”

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Renaming anonymous

Paula Abul sends in a spooneristic eggcorn:

I've just come across an eggcorn I've never seen before, and thought it might interest you. It is the phrase "who will rename anonymous", in place of the more usual "remain anonymous". A cursory Google search shows a fair few instances.

Her example is from Kate Allen, "What Your Hairstylist Really Thinks of Your Groupon", Hello Giggles 11/21/2013:

But recently, I’ve received an overwhelming request from hairdressers (who will rename anonymous) to write a guideline for the proper etiquette for using a coupon (Living Social, Groupon, Amazon Local Deal) for a beauty service.

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"Descending" votes and voices

From Elliott Penegar:

I was reading school board minutes (don’t ask) and noticed that the board secretary had noted several times that a board member had cast a “descending vote.”  I thought, “What was the member doing, voting while walking down the stairs?” No. She evidently meant “dissenting vote.” But it was “descending” each and every time . . .

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"You have foraged relationships with many presidents"

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The Road to Wazoo

The OED has wazoo, n., glossed as "The buttocks; the anus",  noting that it is used "Freq. as a (euphemistic) substitute for ass in fig. phrases, as pain in the wazoo, etc.", giving special notice to the expression up (also out) the wazoo, glossed as "in great quantities, in abundance, to excess.

Wiktionary has the gloss "(vulgar, slang) the anus; ass", with derived terms listed as up the wazoo and out the wazoo, both glossed as "(vulgar, idiomatic) up the ass; excessive or excessively; too much".

But as a result of phonetic processes like those discussed here the other day, the pronunciation of the in a phrase like "up the wazoo" often overlaps with what the pronunciation of to would be in a similar context.

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Central European incomprehensibility

From Nikola Gotovac:

Today I was introduced to the web page "The directed graph of stereotypical incomprehensibility".  

There is one quite common misconception about Croatian language on that graph (and similar languages – Slovenian, Serbian, and Bosnian). To be more precise, the expression "it is all spanish village to me" is actually mis-translated to english, since the saying is "to su meni španska sela". In Croatian language the adjective for spanish is "španjolska", not "Španska". "Španska" means – one owned by "špan", or in today-croatian, "župan".

Please check Wikipedia for meaning of the term Župan. As the župan is part of governing establishment, the expression means "it is all strange to me" or "it does not belong to me, so I do not know" or "it is somebody else's (thing)".  Therefore, although it is tempting to direct this expression on Spain, the meaning is quite different.

Although I know next to nothing about Croatian, a bit of web search suggests that Dr. Gotovac is wrong, and that the župan idea is a philological eggcorn.

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Some evidence that we might be drifting back towards Elizabethan spelling rules (i.e. "whatever, dude"):

[link] More raw and grizzly testimony expected in Dylann Roof case

[link] Just before Snyder held her news conference, Oakland police and fire chaplain Jayson Landeza took several family members to the grizzly site.

[link] A grizzly piece of evidence has been returned to the family whose loved one died in an officer-involved shooting in Wauwatosa in June.

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Return of the Mazel Tov Cocktail

Maya Rhodan, "A Donald Trump Surrogate Strangely Accused Jay Z of Promoting ‘Mazel Tov’ Cocktails", Time Magazine 11/7/2016:

A surrogate of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accused Jay Z, who performed at a rally for Hillary Clinton last week, of promoting police violence in a video that featured “mazel tov cocktails.”  

“One of his main videos starts off with a crowd throwing mazel tov cocktails at the police,” Scottie Nell Hughes said on CNN.

The obligatory audio:

Ms. Hughes is not the first prominent Republican to get these two mixed up: "Mazel Tov, Molotov, whatever", 12/11/2014.

See also: Maura Judkis, "The Mazel Tov Cocktail is real. And it's delicious", Washington Post 11/7/2016.

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China reigns

Headline from the China Daily:

"China reigns in brutal police tactics" (9/9/03)

This hilarious misspelling causes China's widest circulating English-language newspaper accidentally to have a true headline.

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From today's For Better or For Worse, a seasonal eggcorn:

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Eggcorn makes it into Merriam-Webster

And NPR commemorates the event: Mark Memmott, "'Eggcorns': The Gaffes That Spread Like Wildflowers", Weekend Edition 5/30/2015.

Here's the LLOG post where the term was first suggested: "Egg corns: Folk Etymology, Malapropism, Mondegreen, ???", 9/23/2003.  There are quite a few eggcorn-related posts in LLOG Classic and New LLOG as well. And anyone interested in the topic should check out Chris Waigl's Eggcorn Database.

See also Katy Steinmetz,  "This Is What ‘Eggcorns’ Are (and Why They’re Jar-Droppingly Good)", Time Magazine 5/30/2015.

[Note, by the way, that eggcorn made the Oxford English Dictionary back in 2010, and the American Heritage Dictionary in 2011.]


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Eggcorn of the month

James Fallows discusses his experience as a juror — "Build Your Vocabulary, 'Ass Baton' Edition", The Atlantic 5/2/2015:

Through the examination and cross-exams in this case, attorneys for both sides were careful to make sure that even very familiar terms were spelled out to remove the last bit of ambiguity. […]

There was one exception, the term I kept hearing as "ass baton." At one crucial point in this case, a white (as it happened, and young and ostentatiously fit) police officer was chasing a black (as it happened, and older and heavier) suspect down a dark alley, on foot. The policeman soon tackled the defendant from behind. What happened next?

"I struck him with the ass baton, and then I secured his hands with flexi-cuffs, and …" "And was the suspect injured by the ass baton?" "He did not appear to be, but since he would not say anything to us, as a routine precaution after use of the ass baton we called an ambulance…"

I learned afterwards that the other 11 members of the jury were all thinking roughly what I was: "Ass baton? Am I the only person who has never heard of this? I guess I can understand what it could mean, in context. You've got your hand cuffs, and your leg restraints. But really, an ass baton?" A jury isn't allowed to ask questions in court. 

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