"chomp at/on the bit": eggcorn?

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 13 18:34:28 UTC 2007

Thirty-two white horses
Upon a red hill
First they stamp
Now they champ
Then they stand still

Nice LL article. FWIW, for me, "champ" and "chomp" alternate freely,
WRT hearing. "Champ at the bit," but, otherwise, usually "stomp" in
speech. "Holy-water font" vs. "fount of wisdom" keeps these separate.


On 11/13/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "chomp at/on the bit": eggcorn?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Nov 13, 2007, at 7:38 AM, Joel Berson wrote:
> > If "chomping at the bit" is an eggcorn, it must have become so very
> > early.  OED2 has a citation under chomp (v) for "chomp on the bit"
> > from c1645 (The citadel here+serves as a shrewd curb unto her [the
> > town] which makes her chomp upon the bit.), and others for forms of
> > "chomp" in 1714, 1848, and the 20th century.
> see my discussion on Language Log:
> AZ, 3/28/05: Chomping at the font:
>    http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002018.html
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