gutteral 'of the gutter'

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sat May 17 15:27:33 UTC 2008

Ben Zimmer posted an example of this usage on 4/14/05, from Rush
Limbaugh (spelled "guttural" in the transcript).  now this morning on
NPR's Morning Edition Saturday, an occurrence of "downright
gutteral" (in the relevant sense) from Harold Ford, chairman of the
Democratic Leadership Council.

googling on "downright gutteral" will get you a few more relevant

it's a sort of eggcorn-plus: not only is the expression reanalyzed so
as to have more recognizable parts, but its meaning is then adjusted
to reflect this analysis: guttural speech is gutter speech (rough and
harsh), and "gutteral" can then be used of gutter speech in other
senses (taboo language, venomous speech) and gutter behavior of other
sorts (dirty politics). a complex development.


The American Dialect Society -

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