Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 18 2014 @ 2:40pm

A classic Dish thread continues:

I used to think people were saying they need to “make a piss stop” when going to the restroom at work, instead of pitt stop. One day I earnestly asked a female colleague, “Are they saying ‘piss stop’ or is it ‘pitt stop’??” And so she spit out her water and broke out on laughter, and then, you know how a woman will look at you like you’ve totally lost your mind again. But I really didn’t know.

Another eggcorn:

From a student paper, several years back: “It’s a doggie-dog world.”

Another:

My wife had, for the past 20+ years, always said “connipshit” instead of “conniption.”  I finally made her repeat it to me after she said it two-three times in a day and verified she thought the word was “connipshit.”  But I can’t say I blame her; people in a conniption are usually in a connipshit as well.

Another:

I recently wrote an email to a client where I said that allowing something to happen would set a “very bad president.” (For the record, it was not a Freudian slip; I’m an Obama supporter.)

That’s actually a malapropism, which many readers are still confusing for an eggcorn (though often the distinction can be tricky). Here’s Wiki again:

The unintentionally incorrect use of similar-sounding words or phrases in speaking is a malapropism. If there is a connection in meaning, it can be called an eggcorn.

Or:

I had a friend in college that swore up and down that it was a “greatfruit”. But in his defense, they are nothing like a grape and they are pretty great.

Another:

My wife likes to tell how when she was younger and watched Star Wars, they said the Jedi used a “Life Saver” instead of a Light Saber. They were trying to save people, after all.

And here’s a “gem of an eggcorn from my father, a reporter at a local newspaper”:

One of our writers on Tuesday was reporting on a homicide near a brothel. Or as he inadvertently put it, “a house of proposition.” (It did not get into print.)

Another paper doesn’t seem as diligent:

Here’s another eggcorn from yesterday’s WaPo: “Now, North Korea has decided to take a different tact.”

Another reader:

When I was a precocious youth, I thought that “&” was called a “standsforand” rather than an “ampersand”.

Another:

I hear this one often “This doesn’t jive with what he was saying” rather than “jibe”.  I admit I prefer jive.

On a more colloquial note, when I was a child and asked for something that my mother thought I should get for myself, she would say “What are you?  Lady Cement?”.  Years later I realized she was saying “Laid in cement”.   I never thought to question her use of “what” instead of “who”.  Maybe I just liked being a “Lady”.

Another:

I grew up Catholic, when I was making my First Holy Communion and learning the prayers associated with the rosary.  I asked my mother why we would say “Hell, Mary full of grace.”  What can I say, I grew up in West Texas and “hell” sounded like “hail” to me.

Another:

I hear “butt naked” for “buck naked” all the time here in Utah.

Another:

I’m a marine biologist, and I was at a curriculum meeting last Friday where I said that we didn’t want students to be “floundering” in a poorly organized course.  My colleague, a fish biologist, got a little smile on his face. He told me that I shouldn’t malign the flounders like that.  I still didn’t get it until he and another colleague clarified that the word is “foundering”, like a ship founders (apparently, I haven’t read enough Horatio Hornblower…).  Well, I won’t embarrass myself or insult the Pleuronectiformes again!

Update from a reader:

Your writer who was corrected by his colleagues actually used the word “flounder” appropriately.  It’s definition (as a verb) is “to struggle clumsily or helplessly (e.g. “He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.”)” So his statement that “we didn’t want students to be ‘floundering’ in a poorly organized course” works just fine.

Another:

Until the day I die I’ll remember Archie Bunker from “All in the Family” saying “Groin Ecologist” when referring to Edith’s gynecologist.

Dish editor Chris chimes in:

I used to say “lacks-adaisical” instead of “lackadaisical” until my girlfriend corrected me one day. I guess I subconsciously made a connection between the similar meanings of “lax” and “lackadaisical”.

Several more eggcorns:

I’m sure at least one other reader has written to you about the affable British comedy duo Adam & Joe, who used to have a radio show on BBC 6 Music. They got a lot of mileage out of eggcorns from their listeners, ranging from funny but understandable: “the pot calling the kettle back” and “curled up in the feeble position” to the quite bizarre: “this room looks like a bombsy tit.”

Check out the above video for more. Another reader:

One of my favorite eggcorns (at least I think it is) was from my days at a large telecom company.  An account manager wrote in an e-mail that went to several folks, including directors:  “We expect our customers to pay us in the rears! [not ‘arrears’]”  Heh.  I knew our sales people were pains in the butt, but I had no idea they thought of our customers that way! (BTW: please withhold my name if you include this in your list)

Also, thanks for all you do and thanks for having this post.  The news is killing me these days and this added a touch of sanity to the week.

If you need another mental health break in the future, check out the Eggcorn Database. Update from a reader:

Don’t you think the most fitting eggcorn for today is “Will Scotland succeed?”

See you in the morning, succession or not.