an eggcorn [over-]ripe for the database

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon May 26 23:59:08 UTC 2008

from today's Times, an article on A11 ("Tax exemptions for charities
are increasingly facing new challenges", continuing a front page
report on the trend):

"This court ruling is just ripe with unintended consequences...The
state is cutting off its nose to spite its face"
[quoting Jon Nelson, executive director of RSI, a Duluth-based
organization for parents of mentally disabled children]

Passing over the image of the state of Minnesota cutting off its nose
(which may well be that bit just above Duluth) out of face-spiting, I
note that Mr. Nelson is not alone in finding instances of X ripe with
Y.  In fact, the Google scores are remarkably competitive:

"ripe with"         450,000
"rife with"       2,650,000

Oops, cancel the complaint; I had searched under "ripe with", but
when I search under "rife with" (or browsed the database), there it
was, comfortably installed since '05.  So this is an update rather
than a new entry; it's perhaps worth noting that "ripe with" makes it
through the Times editorial process intact.


The American Dialect Society -

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