eggcorn dynamics

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 24 23:18:40 UTC 2009

Interesting eggcorn dynamics when it comes to extending them. I came
across a comment that included "backpeddler":

> > So, it looks like President BarelyCare is an olympic level backpeddler.

There are actually a handful of these popping up on conservative blogs
in reference to Obama.

Urban Dictionary has an entry for "backpedaler". I found nothing in
other on-line dictionaries. Checking Google, you get 79000+ raw ghits
for "backpeddler" and only 4900+ raw ghits for "backpedaler". But,
looking up the verbs paints a different picture:

233000 for "backpedal" and 39800 for "backpeddle" (complete with "Did
you mean _backpedal_?"

I wonder how often that happens. I have no clue as to why the derived
noun would end up more scrambled than the verb. Looking up just
peddle(r)/pedal(r), gives some unexpected numbers, but I am not sure
they explain the derivatives:

4.7 mil for pedal
0.93 mil for pedaler
1.47 mil for peddle
1.73 mil for peddler


On a different eggcorn subject: hail/hale is a fairly common eggcorn in
both media and law (as in "hailed into court"). But I just found a
printed example of it in Wolfson's Life of Spinoza (2nd ed., original
edition 1932). That was quite unexpected.


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list