feeble position

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Aug 17 00:46:46 UTC 2009

At 8:35 PM -0400 8/16/09, M Covarrubias wrote:
>On Aug 16, 2009, at 5:32 PM, Chris Waigl wrote:
>>On 4 Aug 2009, at 17:51, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>>On Aug 2, 2009, at 11:03 AM, Michael Covarrubias wrote:
>>>>watching an old episode of _coach_ ... i thought i heard
>>>>luther (jerry van dyke) utter the following line:
>>>>"i dropped on my knees, curled up in the feeble position, closed my
>>>>eyes and screamed my head off"
>>>there are also some relevant non-skateboarding examples, with people
>>>curling up into the feeble position and the like.
>>>lovely eggcorn, with "feeble" suggesting helplessness and the like.
>>Now in the ECDB, with a reference to this thread and Michael
>>Covarrubias: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/1102/feeble/
>>Chris Waigl
>The line got me noticing all instances of "fetal position" i've heard
>since then. along came another nice one: "feudal position." i found
>only a few hits for it (among several irrelevant hits):
>"I hung out the rest of the day on my couch in the feudal-position."
>"I'll be in the corner of my room in the feudal position crying why
>yahoo why"
>"She was curled up in the feudal position with sweat pouring down her
>face and the most fearful expression you had ever seen her wearing."
>on watching the rest of the coach episode (#83 season 5: "love me
>tender") i noticed how many eggcorny lines luther was given. it's
>right in line with his character in general. it's an interesting issue
>regarding writing and acting how much of it is written in versus
>improvised or actually "committed" by the actor. ISIS and some forms
>of over-/under-negation often get my attention. an interesting issue
>-- tho we know the answer is of course all of the above at different
And at least some of the many hits for "(in a) futile position" seem
to be eggcornish substitutions:

David of course slouched in a futile position and whimpered like a
little cowardly boy.

His owner, Jamie Gable, rushed to see what was the matter, and upon
noticing that his two hind legs limply crossed each other in a futile

She had no strength, so she curled up in a futile position.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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