Eggcorn: *flea market* > *flee market*

Dennis Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Fri Mar 7 05:52:45 UTC 2008

It's hard to proclaim an eggcorn when you don't know the "true"
(sigh!) etymology. There are calque versions from French and cognates
with "flow" (a market that "moves around"). I think it's ety unk
myself, in spite of the apparently strong stance in OED.


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>Subject:      Re: Eggcorn: *flea market* > *flee market*
>On Mar 6, 2008, at 9:30 AM, Damien Hall wrote:
>>  Notwithstanding the easy spelling error 'flea' > 'flee', it seems to
>>  me that
>>  'flea market' > 'flee market' is at least a potential eggcorn;  not as
>>  obviously one as many others, but couldn't people have thought that
>>  the insect
>>  was called a <flee> because it fled (jumped away) if disturbed?  This
>>  explanation could potentially account for many mis-spellings of
>>  'flea' as
>>  <flee>, obviously, not just this particular phrase.
>yes -- then "flea" > "flee" would be the eggcorn.  perhaps that was
>what dInIs was suggesting.
>>   But, granted, this isn't
>>  indisputably an eggcorn.  Maybe I'm reaching here.
>this is a case where you could actually ask people about their
>understandings of the words involved.
>The American Dialect Society -

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
Morrill Hall 15-C
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48864 USA

The American Dialect Society -

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