Archives For Busted With An Eggcorn

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 12 2015 @ 9:15am

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 10.49.30 AM

This is probably the last of the mega popular thread. A reader sends the above image:

Am I too late for eggcorns? One of Boston’s historic burying grounds is Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, named for the family of William Copp, who once owned the land. Several maps, including this one from 1776, label it “Corpse Hill” instead. Perfectly reasonable, especially considering locals’ relationship with the letter R.

An eggcorn fitting for the week:

Years ago, in winter, my Italian boyfriend called the “wind chill” factor the “windshield” factor, as he thought it meant how cold the temperature was going over a car’s windshield. He had been in Canada his whole life and nobody had corrected him (before me). He laughed.

Another:

What do you call it when you and your buddies go to the beach and build a big driftwood fire, cluster around it, and become even closer friends? This morning I saw the following on a gold prospecting forum I visit: “I have had many similar finds on beaches where people have at one time had a bond fire.”

A dozen more after the jump:

You guys are probably sick of these by now, but I’ll throw one in:

I remember calling my brother and getting my 4-year-old niece.  When I asked her if my brother was at home, she told me that he had gone to “his ami,” having clearly heard that her father was on his way to that city in Florida.

Another:

I’ve got a companion to the “Seattle” eggcorn! (“Who is Attle, and why are we going to see her?”) A young friend on her first airplane trip was paying close attention to all the pilot’s announcements in preparation for takeoff. At one point the pilot announced that they were just waiting for clearance and then would be taking off. The kid turned to her older companion and asked, “Who is Clarence, and why are we waiting for him?”

Another:

A neighbor once told me that the second of two related unwelcome events was “like addin’ salt to an injury.” (Insult to injury)

Another:

I worked with a marketing director of a Texas bank in the ’70s. When something went wrong he was afraid that he was likely to be the “escaped goat”.

Another:

OK, I’ll bite. In law school, one of my best friends, had two eggcorns that he used (until someone pointed out the error): “all intensive purposes” for “all intents and purposes;” and “the straightened arrow” for “the straight and narrow.”

Another:

After reading the latest update to this thread, I just received a letter from a fellow attorney in which he endorses a judicial candidate on the grounds that she is “imminently qualified” for the appointment.  Perhaps, by the time she takes the bench, she will be all the way there!

Another:

One of my partners in business sometimes tells me that he’s “flusterated” by one thing or another. The first few times I thought he might’ve misspoken. It wasn’t until recently that I realized he thought the word was flusterated instead of frustrated – and you know what, sometimes I get pretty flusterated too.

Another:

I grew up near Boston, and therefore I believed that Arthur was someone who wrote books.

Another:

I am a long-time reader and subscriber, but I this is the first time I am writing in. Reviewing all the eggcorns that have been shared, I thought your readers would enjoy this one. When I was about 10, I first encountered the hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”  The opening line stated, quite dramatically, “All hail the power of Jesus’s name, let angels PROSTRATE fall.” By this time in my life I had heard of PROSTATE cancer and knew where it was located on the male body. For the life of me, I did not understand what was going on with those angels.

Another:

My aunt used to say that you had to heat water in a pot until it came to a roaring boil.

One more:

Teaching 8th grade English, I’ve circled more than a few eggcorns in red ink over the last 18 years. The one I see with astonishing frequency: some variation or other on “It’s important not to take things for granite.” I’ll cut them some slack; they are, after all, fourteen. Wy wife, however, is fair game for good-natured ribbing for telling our sons recently “Don’t lick a gift horse in the mouth”.

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 7 2015 @ 2:37pm

The Dish thread that won’t quit:

My twenty-four-year-old daughter has Down syndrome. While she has plenty to say and can be understood by most people, her speech sometimes takes some interesting twists and turns. She does her own laundry, often when I’m not at home. Occasionally a sock or something else falls into the laundry tub, blocking the drain. As the washer empties into the tub, it fills up and the water ends up on the basement floor. The wash machine shuts down and won’t finish the cycle. I get home and she explains the problem. The wash machine, she says, is overfloating.

Another reader:

I came across my favorite eggcorn because I‘m a huge ice hockey fan.

In online chats I’ve seen many English-speaking fans lament the poor quality of their team’s defense “core.”  While every team in every sport probably has a defensive core in some sense, these folks have misheard broadcasters and analysts referring to a team’s defense corps, i.e., the group of the team’s defensemen as a whole. Kind of ironic for a sport that has so many French-speaking followers in North America.

Another:

I just read a blog post where someone was fighting “tough and nail” for a position.  Not one I’d heard before.

Another:

My 5-year-old just used an eggcorn and I felt compelled to email you. I gave him one of my parental “looks” in response to some mild misbehavior, and he asked me why “I was raising my eyebrowns”.

And another:

When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict, I’d recently started working at an international organisation. At the canteen table over lunch some colleagues were discussing the new pope’s personal history and views on social issues.  We were joined by a colleague from Poland who I didn’t yet know very well. “Have you heard what the Italian media have nicknamed the new Pope?” she asked, in heavily accented English. We shook our heads. I heard: “Papa Nazi.”

“Ah,” I said. “We were just talking about how he was in the Hitler Youth. He does still seem to have pretty right-wing opinions, doesn’t he?”

My other colleagues looked down, embarrassed, while my Polish colleague launched into an impassioned defence of Benedict’s theology and how he’d been forced into the Hitler Youth against his will. I was confused: if she felt that way, why pass on a joke about it?

It was only an hour later, back at my desk, that the penny dropped. Polish – probably Catholic. Italian media – probably not making Nazi jokes. I went to Google, and discovered that they had in fact nicknamed him Papa Ratzi.

I penned an embarrassed email to my Polish colleague, who responded gracefully. But I’ve never been able to shake thinking of Benedict as Papa Nazi.

Another:

My friend used to think “miniature golf” was “minutes of golf.” I think a lot of eggcorns are the result of the Boston accent (“min-ah-tcha gawlf”).

Another:

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this one yet. My dad’s a doctor who specializes in cardiology and internal medicine.  As a kid, anytime he mentioned having to swing by the ICU (intensive care unit), I thought he was referring to the “I See You.”

One more:

I worked in land surveying for several years with a very bright crew chief. Unfortunately, he got it in his head that a “guy wire” (those wires that run from the top of a utility pole to the ground) was a “guide wire.”  I never corrected him, and even though I always said it correctly, he either didn’t notice, or thought I was an idiot. We’re still friends and I still don’t have the heart to tell him. (If you publish this, though, I WILL post it to Facebook).

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 6 2015 @ 12:15pm

vine

Quality eggcorns from readers keep coming in. One sends the above screenshot:

A strangely intriguing but short-lived Internet meme/mystery meets up with an eggcorn of “TV day-view”, as opposed to “TV debut”, by one of the solvers of the mystery. It’s also strange how someone’s random reaction on TV can become the focus of millions of investigators.  I have to admit, I watched the Vine video over and over and I don’t exactly know why …

Several more eggcorns below:

As young child I was out to dinner with my family at a fairly nice restaurant.  I was very excited to order all by myself.  When the server came to ask about my order I was very clear, and then she had to go and ask a question.  “Would you like soup or salad with that?”  I heard “Super Salad” and oh boy did that sound well super. Needles to say my family got a good laugh as I proudly proclaimed, “I will have the super salad!”

Another:

When I was taking drivers ed in the early 2000s, nearly all of my classmates thought the term “right of way” was “right away” – as in, “Pedestrians always have the right away,” because they get to go “right away” and the cars have to wait. So if you’re the first person at a four-way stop, you have the “right away” to go first. I remember the instructor getting agitated, “no, no, no it’s right OF way.” Many students still didn’t understand the difference when both meant that the person with the right of way gets to go right away.

Another:

I am a Christian minister who was was invited to speak at a community interdenominational worship service. Our small-town newspaper, always hungry for anything to fill its pages, sent a reporter who wrote a lengthy article about the service, including a surprisingly good summary of my sermon. He did slip in an eggcorn, though, when he transcribed my phrase “the pole star of faith” as the pulsar of faith. Because both are metaphors, one is almost as good as the other, I suppose.

Another:

Recently we brought on a new staff member to our IT department.  She had no IT background but was a go-getter and adept at using our EHR system and making corrections.  (I will take a known entity over a “good interviewer” any day). On one of her first days, she was answering our help desk phone.  She wrapped up a call by saying that a tech would be right over to twerk her computer.

I know I have tweaked a computer, but I’m still working on the twerking.

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 1 2015 @ 5:02pm

More tumble in:

An example of an eggcorn has stayed alive in my memory for many years.  A coworker, a smart college student, referred to an injury as having left whelps on his arm.  Unable to resist, I started my version of canine howling.  He quickly realized he was using the wrong term and we would howl together when other poor souls misused the word thereafter.

Another:

I didn’t know this thread was still active, so here’s my eggcorn. 

My wife and I were watching a cooking show and the segment was on beef roasts. The chef said we should cut the FAT CAP off the roast prior to searing it. My wife heard it as FAT CAT. Yes, that layer of fat on a roast can look like a cat, if the cat has white fur. I liked her description better and it conjures up the whole idea of skinning the fat cats with tax increases, which I think is a good idea.

Another:

I know now the Pennsylvania illustrator I interviewed for a class essay said she would give up illustration if it ever lost that “olfactory feel,” but what I heard at the time, and what found its way into my essay, was “that old factory feel.” I thought she meant to rough feel of paints and turpentine, but she meant the aroma of paint and turpentine. I did not catch this until several years later, rereading the essay.

Another:

No funny story, but I have heard this on occasion: Rock-weiler instead of Rottweiler.

Another points to Wikipedia:

Commander Lloyd M. Bucher was psychologically tortured, such as being put through a mock firing squad in an effort to make him confess. Eventually the Koreans threatened to execute his men in front of him, and Bucher relented and agreed to “confess to his and the crew’s transgression.” Bucher wrote the confession since a “confession” by definition needed to be written by the confessor himself. They verified the meaning of what he wrote, but failed to catch the pun when he said “We paean the DPRK [North Korea]. We paean their great leader Kim Il Sung”. (The word “paean” sounds identical to the term “pee on” in American English.)

Update from another:

My boss, complaining about new regulations in the mortgage lending industry in the ’90s: “We’re getting raped over the coals.”

Another:

Many years ago, I listened to the radio while applying makeup before going to work in the morning. I usually heard, with not much interest, the announcers giving baseball scores and accounts of the previous day’s games. Some years later I delighted my husband and his best friend by relating my understanding of the expression, “there’s one up in the win column.” I had heard it as “wind column.” Made perfect sense to me. The ball had been caught by the wind and gone higher than usual, resulting in a score.

One more:

When my wife and I were young and very poor, we went to a free clinic in Ocean City, Maryland to get birth control. In the waiting room we eavesdropped on a couple younger than ourselves, so they must have been teenagers. The girl went in, had her exam, came back to report the results to her boyfriend and announced that she needed a pap smear. To which her boyfriend, mystified, said, “The doctor says you need a Pabst Beer?”

This fun reader thread is a good way to balance out the heavy one on corporal punishment and also a primeacorns-side example of the collective wit of our readership. A reminder of what an eggcorn is: “a word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one that sounds very similar or identical.” The thread started when the Guardian called me out for using “leash on life” back in 2007. The resulting avalanche of eggcorns from readers is here. Below are many more new examples:

Don’t know if this is an eggcorn or malaprop, but a student in a quiz just referred to the apostle Paul doing something “by the seed of his pants”.

Another reader:

I saw this phrase in a user email from Bill Simmons’ NFL Week 15 mail bag. A question from a Cleveland Browns fan used this hilarious eggcorn, which I’ve never before seen. I didn’t even finish the paragraph before rushing off to email The Dish. Here’s an excerpt of his email with the gem of a phrase in context (italics mine):

The Browns will win just enough games next season to regress back to their yearly average of five wins, and Jimmy Haslem, tired of scamming truckers and cross-country-vacationers and other middle class pee-ons, will throw a temper tantrum, clean house, and repeat this miserable cycle until the team moves to LA and wins a Super Bowl.

Another:

Until very recently I thought that a Hobson’s Choice (a choice where there is not choice at all “take it or leave it”) was actually a “hostage choice.” Personally I think my version is far more descriptive.

Another:

One of my friends, describing an interaction with his ex-wife:  “… and then she went bombastic on me.”

And another:

My friend and his son see a dead bird, and his son asks him if birds can get to heaven, since they don’t have any skin. My friend says, “First of all, they do have skin – underneath their feathers – and second, what does that have to do with heaven?”  Son: “because when you get to heaven, Jesus takes all of your skins!” This is an atheist family – he has no idea how his son learned about Hannibal Lecter Jesus.

Another religious misfire:

Courtesy of Scott Walker: “Molotov” in lieu of “Mazel Tov”.  It seems that he may be taking the idea of the stern, vengeful diety of the Old Testament a bit too far.

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 23 2014 @ 3:38pm

One more round of reader eggcorns:

I’ve been enjoying the thread.  And then earlier tonight during happy hour, a friend said: “My Mom has a heart on for Pope Francis.”  I didn’t even bring attention to it, I just immediately thought, “I need to write the Dish!”

Another:

Someone said “Jew him down” around me when I was 15 and working  in an antique store one summer. But I heard “chew him down.”

I figured it meant when you talk someone into giving you a lower price one something, when you haggle, your jaw is moving up and down. You’re chewing down the price. Chewing them down. Chew him down.

I didn’t have tons of cause to use the expression once I was no longer working in an antique store, but I did use it from time to time, as I like to go to junk sales and flea markets. I think I was nearly 25 when I used it in front of the right person – someone who gasped, looked me in the eye, and said, “I can’t believe you would say something like that.” I was completely mortified when she told me what I actually heard in that antique store when I was 15.

Another:

I once mentioned to my wife that there was a new tapas bar in town and that we should go there, to which she responded, “Why would you want us to go to a topless bar!”

Another:

I can’t believe it took me so long to remember my biggest eggcorn. I’ve been saying since I was a kid that, in cold weather, “It’s a bit nipply outside.”

And another:

Okay, I haven’t seen this one show up on The Dish yet. I work in a group that designs and operates cutting-edge satellite instruments. One of my co-workers is an engineer known for being the best worrier in our building that something might go wrong with the latest instrument. My favorite phrase he always uses whenever he wants to point out a possible problem with a design or plan we’ve come up with is to start by saying: “But the flaw in the ointment is … “

Another:

I’m a family law trial attorney and often hear clients complain about being “lamblasted” by their spouses, etc. in relation to their often caustic situations.  I’ve always loved that, and I never correct them!

Another:

I’ve been greatly enjoying your threads on eggcorns, mostly because I feel like I’ve committed half of them myself.  Here’s another: When I was a kid, growing up in DC in the ’80s, my parents were friends with a couple named Mary and Barry.  They were always saying things like “we’re going out with Mary an’ Barry tonight,” etc.  I spent a good portion of my childhood thinking my parents were great friends with the mayor!

Another:

As a physician, my all-time favorite eggcorn is “sick-as-hell anemia”.

One more:

Years ago my then three year old son was having a tantrum about something I have long since forgotten.  Trying to make peace, I suggested he come join me for a nice bowl of chicken soup.  “NO!,” he screamed.  “OK, suit yourself,” says I.  “No, YOU shoot YOUR-self!!,” came the outraged reply.  Holy Moly.  He has since grown into a kind and gentle young man.

Read all of the reader entries here.

Busted With An Eggcorn, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 19 2014 @ 10:57am

The eggcorns keep tumbling from the in-tray:

I’m surprised you haven’t published this one yet.  I used to work in a methadone clinic with folks who were quite low on the socioeconomic ladder.  On more than one occasion, someone would talk about how sad they were feeling about a family member or friend who was struggling with “ole’ timer’s disease” instead of Alzheimer’s.  I never had the heart to correct them and always found it a little charming.

Somewhat less charming:

My roommate believes that Nazis saluting the fuehrer proclaimed “Hi Hitler!”

Another:

Right after I read your post about eggcorns, I came across this in last Sunday’s NY Times magazine feature about Lena Dunham:

Passers-by routinely stopped to say hello and sputter out praise. “Thank you so much,” Dunham said again and again — to a middle-aged black woman; to a tanned and slender young blonde who, in a rather brilliant malapropism, said, “I’d be remorse if I didn’t stop and say how much I love your work” …

One of many more:

I know it’s probably too late, but I couldn’t keep my eggcorn in any longer.

Growing up I thought the phrase “ends meet” was actually “end’s meat”.  I assumed that the end of the meat was the cheapest cut, so I thought that the phrase referred to people who were in such dire straits that they couldn’t even afford “end’s meat.”

Another:

I once had a coworker who would frequently say we “need to get our ducks on the road.” No one ever corrected her. Too much enjoyment came from it.

Another:

I think this student may have misheard something in a lecture on Hobbes.  His essay contained the immortal “In the state of nature, people were nasty, British, and short.”

Another:

I’m really enjoying this thread of eggcorns. My contribution: Until I was 10 or so, I always thought it was a “bow-a-movement” instead of a “bowel movement”, since you usually bowed when on the pot.

Another:

My wife, despite numerous corrections (which are dangerous to my health), continues to refer to Silicon Valley as Silicone Valley. I’ve tried to point out that Silicone Valley is probably more Hollywood than San Francisco.

Another:

I work in research and used to transcribe some of the interviews I did. Sometimes some answers are a nice “segue to the next question,” but it took me years to finally realize that it has nothing to do with segway – which is how I spelled it, since I had always assumed the stupid two-wheel transportation thing is just a namesake.

Another:

When I was a young girl and very into dinosaurs, I thought that they had been wiped out by a “giant meat-eater,” never having heard of a meteor. I pictured a King Kong-sized T-Rex running around eating all of the other dinosaurs. The truth came out when I decided to do a school project on dinosaur extinction. My parents thought it was adorable.

One more:

Every year on Christmas Eve my mom would prepare a huge family dinner that included filet mignon.  As a kid this sounded like “flaming yon” which made perfect sense – I thought “yon” was a type of meat, and you had to cook it, hence the “flaming” part.

Follow the whole trail of eggcorns here.