Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Wed Apr 30 04:01:43 UTC 2008

Not really. While "card sharp" is indeed about a century older than "card
shark" (which is first attested to in Berrey and Van Den Bark's 1942
_American Thesaurus of Slang_), the use of "shark," meaning a cheat and
person who makes a living in disreputable ways goes back to 1599 (shark, n2.
in the OED).

"Sharp" or "sharper" (without the "card"), meaning a cheat or swindler,
dates to 1681.

Both have a long and venerable history.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Herb Stahlke
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:20 PM
Subject: cardshark

Is "card shark" a candidate for eggcorn?  Neither OED nor AHD list it,
although both, not surprisingly, have "card sharp."  Google gives the
following results:

card shark      549,000
card-shark      259,000
cardshark       259,000
cardsharking         112
cardsharker              9

card sharp      857,000
card-sharp      138,000
cardsharp       137,000
cardsharping      9,130
cardsharper        8,980

The hyphenated and single word searches produce essentially the same
lists, and there appears to be considerable overlap between the forms
with and without the space.


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