Just when we thought the thread was over:
I grew up visiting a cabin in the Sierra that my grandfather built after WW2, when my dad was little. Many of the stories about the cabin involved a Scandinavian journeyman carpenter they hired to help build it. Because of this, for much longer than I care to admit, I thought a finish carpenter was a carpenter from Finland.
I fly up and down the East Coast a lot. For a while I was puzzled about the flight attendants’ announcement about putting “your rollerboards” in the overhead compartments … until I realized that “rollerboards” is a corruption of “roll-aboards” – what small bags with wheels were called when they first came on the market.
My associate just tried to describe someone as shady and said: “He is all smoky mirrors,” instead of smoke and mirrors. I told her about your eggcorn thread and warned her that I would be submitting this.
Busted. Many more eggcorns below:
OK, I don’t know if you’ve heard this one already, but …
In the third grade, shortly before Christmas, we were coloring pictures to take home to our parents. Incidentally, it was Maryland in the 1950s, when each school day began with a prayer, and there certainly was no pressure to avoid religious themes. A friend of mine drew a nativity scene that included a short, fat man over by the side, among some of the animals. The teacher was prompting each of us to describe our work, and she asked my friend who the rotund gentleman was. His reply was that it was Round John Virgin.
From my French-speaking, Tunisian sister-in-law yesterday: “We should go back there, because it will be a safe heaven.”
You may be oversaturated with these, but I can’t resist the best one I have seen. I am an appeals prosecutor and read a lot of trial transcripts. One time an attorney said he wanted to be sure his client’s rights were protected, and the trial judge, known for his loquaciousness, said (according to the transcript), “We try to protects a defendant’s rights deciduously.” He obviously said “assiduously,” and the court reporter got it wrong. I couldn’t resist sending a copy of the transcript page to the judge and the defendant’s attorney with the question: should we be protecting a defendant’s rights deciduously or coniferously?
Read this today on The Atlantic’s readers’ discussion page:
This administration, beyond being the most polarizing and immature in history, is utterly and completely tone-death.
Sorry to be so late with this one, but these eggcorns are hilarious. Many years ago I was at a meeting in a Midwestern city. One evening a colleague and I went to an English-style restaurant, where the waitresses were referred to as “wenches” (this was in the 1980s). I ordered roast beef, and the “wench” asked me if I wanted O Juice with it. I readily said yes. When we were served, my friend wondered where the orange juice was. Actually, I was responding to a familiar question that dated to the cafeteria in college, where they often served roast beef “au jus,” but the servers would always ask us if we wanted O Juice with it.
My sister always wanted to be outside playing with the boys; she resented it when grandmother kept her indoors to learn to knit and sew and do “crewel work.” I’m sure the frustration contributed to her habit, ever after, of calling it “cruel work.”
My wife’s grandmother, a sweet lady from the hills of Kentucky, wrote us that she was diagnosed with “high potension.” We were stumped. Hypertension.
My son’s eggcorn harkens back to the original. As a preschooler many years ago he understood that acorns came from oak trees. He then extended the concept to pine trees, calling pinecones pinecorns. No amount of gentle correction made any difference. They remained pinecorns for a long time.
Another reader takes a stab at a new subject:
If you’re stopping eggcorns, how about some spoonerisms? JUST THIS SECOND I made up a cool spoonerism from a passing conversation, a habit of mine. I like how it sort of mirrors the original phrase which I think aficionados score extra points for: “Roars to be fecund with.” You’re welcome.
Update from another:
Oh man, I can get on board this spoonerism train. My favorite to date is a take on describing something as highly active/pungent: “kicking like Bruce Lee” turns into “kicking like loose bree.”
And to add to the eggcorns, growing up, my sister didn’t like to make any hard and fast plans, but just “play it by year.” We rib her about that to this day.
A contribution to your never-ending thread: The head of the local home-school association once wrote, in a newsletter item following a school vacation, that she hoped everyone had had a nice “restbit.” I’ve used that ever since; it sounds even more pleasant than a respite.