The review mirror

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From a recent spam email:

Is that an eggcorn for "rear view mirror"? That phrase is mentioned in a forum post at the Eggcorn Database, and there are definitely examples Out There, e.g.

[link] Someone once told me: before you look forward, you should always take a look back…and make sure nothing is gonna bite you in the ass! (They also said you should spend most of your time looking through the windshield and not the review mirror, but hey…it's my blog post).
[link] This is not a job for the review mirror! Take your time in your mirror at home and apply neatly. Apply the lipstick to the center of your lip and then use a lip brush to smooth out to the nude liner.
[link] Our hood ornaments fit on most big rigs and some medium and light duty vehicles. […] Make a statement about your vehicle to the people looking in their review mirror.

Or was it a conscious play on words? There's a book of poetry called The Review Mirror, which "seeks to understand life as it is reflected within shards of broken glass and mirrors that have changed one's memories", and starts like this:

Or is "review mirror" actually a thing — that is, a phrase conventionally used for something different from a "rear view mirror"? I've never heard of it, and I can't find any evidence of it on line.



  1. Jamie said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 5:28 am

    The words sound completely different in my dialect of English, but there may be some where they are nearly indistinguishable, leading to an eggcorn.

    Some could be autocorrects; for example, when I type "rerview" it gets corrected to "review".

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 5:35 am

    Here is an almost identical phrase, and here at least it is clearly an egg-corn.

    On finding the link via Google, I initially thought that it was from the luxury car manufacturer 'Lexus' but it turns out to be from Lexington, tho' which Lexington is somewhat unclear …

  3. Cervantes said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 6:48 am

    Well, that would be approximately the pronunciation in Boston, although the wrong syllable is stressed.

  4. Andrew Taylor said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 7:37 am

    The Eggcorn Forum has another variant: the Rear-of-you Mirror.

    @Philip T: strange that they can't be consistent between the headline and the body. (Or is that what you mean by "clearly an eggcorn"?)

  5. Philip Taylor said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 8:24 am

    Andrew, yes — as the headline is correct with "in the Rear View" but the body text reads "in our review mirror", the latter is surely an egg-corn (or an auto-correct error), is it not ?

  6. Robert Coren said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 10:21 am

    I suspect the Lexington in question is the one in Kentucky, given the reference to Governor Brashear in one of the other headlines.

  7. Gregory Kusnick said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 10:23 am

    I have occasionally seen people driving with the mirror oriented toward themselves rather than to the traffic behind them, so apparently at least some people think its primary purpose is to review their personal grooming.

  8. Stephen Hart said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 11:25 am

    Jamie said,
    Some could be autocorrects; for example, when I type "rerview" it gets corrected to "review".

    Yes, but rearview does not get autocorrected. It is difficult for me to type rerview. I can't see doing it by accident.

  9. Matt Juge said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 11:37 am

    Maybe the Review Mirror is where people have to look when they're behind on their comments on other people's manuscripts.

  10. SlideSF said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 11:43 am

    It's pretty easy to type reRVIEW if you hit the caps lock instead of the A; something I do quite regularly on a phone keyboard.

  11. Philip Taylor said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 1:38 pm

    Robert — "I suspect the Lexington in question is the one in Kentucky, given the reference to Governor Brashear". But what, then, was the reference to "the Commonwealth", as in "as a cold front tracks towards the Commonwealth" ?

  12. Joe Post said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 1:43 pm

    @Philip Taylor. Kentucky does not consider itself a State — it's officially a "Commonwealth" See the Wikipedia article on Kentucky.

  13. Ross Presser said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 1:53 pm

    I don't think it's tied to a specific regional pronunciation. Listen to Thomas Dolby say it in his song Radio Silence:

    "Caroline / makes the final adjustments / in the rear view mirror"

    The final R is really, really weak. This seems common to me for this phrase. Thomas Dolby is British and I am not.

    My guess is that the originator of this eggcorn wasn't familiar with the phrase in print and just heard someone say it with this weak R, and transcribed it as "review" without an R.

  14. Y said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 2:03 pm

    I am a subscriber to The Mirror Review, published by the International Association of Mirrormakers, and dedicated to learned opinion and belles-lettres on the subject dear to us all. It competes with the much inferior Reflections, published by the International League of Mirrormakers. Neither is to be confused with the long defunct The Speculator.

  15. Daniel said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 2:37 pm

    On their own, "review" and "rear view" differ in stress. Both are stressed on "view", but "rear" has secondary stress that "re-" lacks. When combined in a phrase with "mirror", the first syllable of "mirror" has primary stress, but there is very little discernable difference anymore in stress between "review" and "rear view".

  16. KeithB said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 2:42 pm

    I just showed it to my office mate and he initially read it as "rearview" mirror, until I told him to read it again.

  17. Michael said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 4:09 pm

    Like KeithB's co-worker, I had to re-read it before I understood the mistake. I'd chalk it up to autocorrect and sloppy proofreading.

  18. Dan Curtin said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 6:13 pm

    Kentucky is a Commonwealth, and our Governor is Beshear, but extra r's are quite appropriate for this chain!

  19. David Morris said,

    March 26, 2021 @ 7:01 pm

    In generally non-rhotic Australia, I have never seen 'review mirror' (which is not to say that it's never used).

  20. Will Thomas said,

    March 27, 2021 @ 10:01 am

    I rather like review mirror. Clearly it's what you look into to, say, look over last year's happenings.

  21. Robert Coren said,

    March 27, 2021 @ 10:17 am

    @Stephen Hart: "It is difficult for me to type rerview. I can't see doing it by accident." I can. I could easily imagine intending to type "rearview" and not hitting the "a" key hard enough to register – happens to me all the time.

  22. Josh R said,

    March 28, 2021 @ 7:18 pm

    I also missed the error at first glance. I suspect my eyes took in the "re" "view" and "mirror" and my brain just supplied the "ar".

    A similar thing can happen when typing. I can easily imagine someone intending to type "rear view" and their fingers just race ahead to "review," and then it was missed in proofreads for the same reason.

  23. George said,

    March 30, 2021 @ 5:38 am

    Just another data point here who read 'rear view' and didn't see 'review' until my attention was drawn to it.

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