double eggcorn

David A. Daniel dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Tue Jun 2 12:50:48 UTC 2009

Here we have what appears to me to be an eggcorn (in first instance) used by
a speaker and then (in second instance) used by a writer who is quoting the
speaker as an example of usage of the word.

In today's "a Word a Day" email the word is "trammel", used here as a verb,
and the following quote is used as a usage example:

"John Singleton, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. spokesman, said [the ban on
cigarette sales at Boston drugstores and on college campuses] does trammel
on businesses' right to sell what they want to sell."
Stephen Smith; Hub Seeks More Bans on Tobacco; The Boston Globe; Sep 4,

He almost certainly meant "trample on". Had Singleton said "trammel
businesses' rights" instead of "trammel ON businesses' rights, one could
even have allowed a slightly stretched meaning of trammel.

So, it seems to me, not only did the speaker fall for a trample/trammel
eggcorn, the word-a-day writer also fell for it, to the extent of even using
it for definition. (PS: The trammel/trample mistake could have been the
reporter's doing, rather than the speaker's, but the result in terms of this
eggcorn example is the same either way.)

The American Dialect Society -

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