RobWords on eggcorn

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RobWords for June 24, 2023:

The word eggcorn was originally proposed in "Egg corns: folk etymology, malapropism, mondegreen, ???", 9/23/2003, and most recently discussed in "Ancient Eggcorns", 6/17/2023.


  1. Laura Morland said,

    June 25, 2023 @ 8:55 pm

    Udderly delightful!

    (And lovely, Mark, to see and hear you speak for the first time.)

    My only regret about this otherwise-excellent video is that it didn't delve into the origin of Mondegreens… of which all the faithful readers of Jon Carroll's (late, lamented) daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle are aware, as in this example:

    One question: Is the "BobWords" of your title an eggcorn too subtle for me to get? Or is he "Rob to the world, Bob to his friends" … of whom you are now one?

    P.S. Don't know if you noticed: one commenter requested that he "do more videos with Mark Lieberman."

  2. Ruth said,

    June 25, 2023 @ 9:55 pm

    How about "stepped foot in" for "set foot in?" I hear and see that all the time now!

  3. Julian said,

    June 26, 2023 @ 12:04 am

    So what's the oldest notarised eggcorn?
    Asparagus > sparrowgrass?
    Bride-gome > bridegroom?
    Any suggestions?


    June 26, 2023 @ 5:55 am

    One I love is "Ethelred the unready" a misinterpretation of the original jibing pun "Ethelred the un-red "Ethelred" = "wisely counseled" not "uncounseled."

  5. DaveK said,

    June 26, 2023 @ 8:59 am

    Not sure if this is an eggcorn or something else, but on Slate this morning, a woman wrote in to an advice column to complain that her sister wanted her to turn into a “carbon clone” of the sister.

  6. Michael said,

    June 26, 2023 @ 3:07 pm

    I was surprised to hear a person with his accent admit to using "butt naked," which I always thought was a decided Americanism (more common in the South). I wonder how widespread either version actually is now.

  7. unekdoud said,

    June 27, 2023 @ 11:31 am

    Having recently realized that "bagpack" was still in my mental vocabulary, I did a quick check of Wiktionary's "English misspellings" category.

    I may have had these wrong before:
    antipasta, frustrum, kindergarden, marshal law, nerve-wrecking, preying mantis, straightjacket (see: straight-laced), tinnitis

    I probably have never made these mistakes:
    bunker down, doormouse, hairsute, ingenius, slight of hand, tow the line

  8. Taylor, Philip said,

    June 27, 2023 @ 2:48 pm

    Oh, how embarrassing — I could see nothing wrong with "frustrum" in the immediately preceding post, so consulted the OED. I am now mortified with shame …

  9. Holly said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 6:19 am

    My mother-in-law says suffers from irrational bowel syndrome. She also says that an infuriating person "could make a sailor cuss". Those both seem like eggcorns to me.

    An Appalachian woman, she also uses folk etymology term "kyarn" to describe the smell of carrion but not carrion itself. She is critical of her sister's use of the word "zinc" for "sink", however. Her sister is older than her and may have been around zinc sinks.

  10. L. said,

    June 28, 2023 @ 6:39 pm

    Rob's attitude toward eggcorns seems awfullly prescriptivist for LL, doesn't it?

  11. Paul Heisterkamp said,

    June 29, 2023 @ 5:29 pm


    upon your request, here's two German eggcorns – or, rather, one folk etymology that made it big time, and one original gem:
    – Hängematte: Hanging mat. The word describes the thing so well that only a few linguistically interested people in the Germanosphere have the slightest idea of its origin: hammaka in Arawak via Spanish, French etc. into German, Dutch and some others:
    – Vogeliere: Aviary. An eggcorn by some acquaintance via the french loan word volière ( on the word "Vogel" – large bird cage.
    Btw, if I remember correctly, we briefly met at the HLT conference in San Diego in 2000 or 2001, under the auspices of Gary Strong. I was the Mercedes guy presenting the speech recognition in the car.

  12. David Fried said,

    June 30, 2023 @ 10:04 pm

    Ruth–This may be an example of the "recency illusion," but I never heard or read "stepped foot" until the last couple of years, and it's suddenly ubiquitous. I find it odd as well as irritating, because 1) "set" is hardly an obscure word; ;and 2) "step foot" and "stepped foot" are both much harder to articulate than the original.

    PS: Spell correct doesn't recognize "recency" and suggested "regency" instead–a new eggcorn! Or perhaps a movie title: The Regency Illusion..

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