Eggcorn: *flea market* > *flee market*

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Mar 6 01:01:33 UTC 2008

This is a copy of the post I've just made to the Eggcorn Forum:

Spotted in today’s (5 March 2008) _Daily Pennsylvanian_:

‘Prevor spoke about growth and celebrity licensing as well as his humble
beginnings selling T-shirts in *flee markets* during high school. ’”When we had
our booths at the *flee market*, we would climb on top of a van and yell and
scream to the top of our lungs for people to buy our T-shirts,” Prevor said as
he mounted a table in the mid-sized lecture hall. During Prevor’s undergraduate
career at Penn, the business broke out of its *flee market* roots into a
storefront venue inside Houston Hall.’

from Bianca González, ‘Steve & Barry’s CEO back at Penn’, _Daily Pennsylvanian_,
5 March 2008, p4:

The semantic connection between _flea market_ and _flee market_ could be that
these markets are places that people are hurrying through and making hurried
purchases (often true, given their size), or else that vendors have to compete
very hard in order to get potential customers to buy from them before they flee
out of reach. This second analysis makes more sense in the context (see in
particular the second instance above). Either way, an eggcorn, I think. It’s
relatively common: about 89,400 ghits.

Reflecting the relative uncommonness of the ending _-ea_ in English, this is the
third eggcorn in the Forum to feature this confusion:

plea bargain > flee bargain:
flea powder > flee powder:

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society -

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