Renaming anonymous

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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.

Some other examples from the web:

[link] As for the Secret Santa, he wishes to rename anonymous.
[link] Certain other images were provided by sources who will rename anonymous for reasons of safety.
[link] The “Real men” billboard alongside Interstate 40 Business West belongs to Whiteheart Outdoor Advertising. Bill Whiteheart says its buyer wants to rename anonymous.
[link] The consortium who have purchased the property wish to rename anonymous, but have expressed their intention to keep all staff and maintain the golf course.
[link] A few witnesses who asked to rename anonymous for safety reasons told The San Pedro Sun that sometime around 9PM, six gunmen, dressed in full black and wearing bandanas [on their faces] came from a mangrove area along the lagoon side.
[link] Sources don't want to be named for a variety of reasons — fear of losing a job, not wanting to be known as a rat fink, etc. — but the following source wants to rename anonymous for a basic reason: "People will think I'm crazy."
[link] Another consultant (who wants to rename anonymous) echoes these sentiments, stating: “If we are not careful we might end up with a government hell bent on rolling back the state in a misguided attempt to save money."
[link] So what we have here is yet another Bitcoin gifting pyramid system run by a bunch of people who choose to rename anonymous.
[link] "Coincedence is God's way [of] renaming anonymous. "


  1. Rosbif said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 6:11 am

    Not convinced this is a genuine eggcorn. More likely, IMO, is that the writer intended to write "remain", misspelt it as "remane" and then allowed a spell checker to mangle it.

    [(myl) That's certainly possible. But then you'd expect to see a similar number of examples of "rename awake/asleep" etc., and it looks like these are not to be found.

    Update — though examples of "rename intact" do exist…]

  2. JLR said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 6:48 am

    I think that at least some of these might just be Cupertinos for the misspelling "remane". Experimentally, my iPhone does this in some contexts.

  3. sam said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 7:26 am

    In my head, kept reading this as "renaming anomonous" — spoonerisms beget spoonerisms, I suppose.

  4. JorgeHoracio said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 7:32 am

    Funny, because if you rename anonymous, they won't remain anonymous…

  5. Faldone said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 7:58 am

    I keep wanting to say "rename amonymous".

  6. Evan Harper said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 8:08 am

    If you said this out loud it could become "who we'll rename Anonymous" which makes sense without requiring grammatical innovations.

  7. Vance Koven said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 8:59 am

    A diffident hairdresser could very appropriately remane anonymous.

  8. Mark Meckes said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 10:06 am

    When I saw the title of the post I expected to see something along the lines of Evan Harper's version. I was disappointed that a google search for "we'll rename anonymous" only found this page.

  9. satkomuni said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 11:07 am

    Or they're talking about calling the hacktivist collective something else, and these are all ciphers.

  10. Tim said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 11:17 am

    I was taught that the common phrase "If you think this-or-that, you've got another thing coming" is actually an eggcorn of the correct phrase "If you think this-or-that, you've got another think coming." I have yet to gain any support among my friends for this assertion.

  11. Ed Rorie said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 12:27 pm

    Tim, you are right. I've seen this mistake made by the same people who write "for all intensive purposes."

  12. Dan said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 12:43 pm

    I would guess that at least in some cases, it's more of a freudian slip than an eggcorn or cupertino…

  13. m said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 12:49 pm

    About "another think" vs "another thing" — Language Log is on it already:

  14. Tim said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 12:55 pm

    @m, wow, I'm glad I posted! Looking forward to reading this.

  15. greg said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 1:10 pm

    Here's an eggcorn that popped up on reddit today – "Civil disobedience" becomes "syphilis obedience"

  16. Michael said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

    I lean towards Rosbif's view. I can't remember ever writing the phrase "remain asleep," so that's a doubtful counter-example. Searching the phrase on google results in a lot of references to pages that actually say "stay asleep." We need other phrases in which the use of "remain" is typical. Perhaps something relevant to Brexit? Was there talk of "renamers?"

    [(myl) "remain intact" is pretty common — about 60% as many estimated ghits as "remain anonymous", and there are some "rename intact" examples…]

  17. Rod Johnson said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 4:03 pm

    There are an awful lot of n's and m's in a row in remain anonymous. I bet they get tangled up in speech all the time ("rename anomynous"). It wouldn't be surprising if some of that ended up in written form.

  18. Christopher Henrich said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 4:54 pm

    I am tempted to say "rename anominous." I agree that rows of n's and m's are tongue-twisting. I remember a coworker who said (and may have written) "minimun."

  19. Rubrick said,

    March 22, 2017 @ 5:34 pm

    I think most of them were probably trying to write something about Eddie Redmayne.

  20. Terry Hunt said,

    March 23, 2017 @ 1:51 am

    I'm prompted by the mention of hair stylists to wonder if anyone's ever named a salon 'Re-manes of the Day'

  21. Adam F said,

    March 23, 2017 @ 3:02 am

    I guess the "rename" is in the legendary middle voice. (You could make it reflexive in French.)

  22. Jim said,

    March 23, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

    I think it is just a verbal parallelism: it is more "comfortable" (mentally) for both words to have the "n" sound followed by the "m" sound. Having the order switch between words requires some mental effort to avoid the issue.

    Due to spellcheck and dictation autocorrect, you won't find many written instances of "remain amonymous" out there, but I'll bet it gets actually said a fair amount.

  23. Quim said,

    March 24, 2017 @ 3:44 am

    @Terry: There _is_ a hair product called "ReMane straight"!

  24. Ray said,

    March 24, 2017 @ 4:14 am

    all this reminds me of the time I heard a teevee pundit call something a "fiat accompli".

  25. Bryan Staff said,

    March 24, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

    A friend, writing a book on thirties music, hired a much younger researcher
    who came up with an article on Gershwin's "Rap City in Blue"

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