"hand on the till"

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jul 30 18:13:30 UTC 2006

Combining two threads, the one on "till" (only this time not the
temporal adverb) and the perennial one on eggcorns...

I heard on sports radio (I think the host may have been WFAN's
Richard Neer) a reference to George Steinbrenner, principal owner of
the Yankees, as being the man with "the hand on the till".  I assumed
it was a combo of "hand on the tiller" (with inadvertent allusion to
Steinbrenner's background as an owner of a ship-building concern,
which is where he made his millions that allowed him to buy the
Yankees in the first place) and "hand in the till", appropriate
enough since the reference was more to his control of the money than
to his leadership of the franchise.  In any case, a check of google
reveals that along with the expected hits, there were indeed a bunch
of ones instantiating this eggcorn:

hand on the tiller:   40,900
hand in the till:      26,400
hand on the till:          106

The eggcornish blend usually has the same meaning as "hand on the
tiller", probably stemming from a rampant unfamiliarity with both
tillers and tills.


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