double eggcorn

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Tue Jun 2 16:14:32 UTC 2009

On Jun 2, 2009, at 7:24 AM, David A. Daniel wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "David A. Daniel" <dad at POKERWIZ.COM>
> Subject:      Re: double eggcorn
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Hmmm. Before declaring this an eggcorn I checked the eggcorn
> database to (a)
> see if it was there already - it wasn't - and (b) check out a bunch of
> eggcorn examples to see if this fit in. I decided, by comparison with
> officially recognized eggcorns in the database, that it did fit
> right in
> (you know: walks like an eggcorn, quacks like an eggcorn...). Then I
> had a
> look at the Rules of Eggcorn which state, in part: "The crucial
> element is
> that the new form makes sense: for anyone except lexicographers or
> other
> people trained in etymology..."

look at the "not an eggcorn" examples in the ecdb.  this is a very
small sampling of substitutions that have been suggested to us as
eggcorns but were rejected by us.  the top items in this category are
"mitigate against" and "flaunt" for "flout".

what you've missed in the discussion on the site is the observation
that eggcorns are *reanalyses* of expressions, reanalyses which at
least some speakers see as making the expressions more meaningful.
that's how "egg" got into "eggcorn" and "reign" got into "free
reign" (by people who didn't appreciate the horsey origin of the idiom
"free rein").  and so on.

it's possible to see "trammel on" for "trample on" as a reanalysis,
but i can't see how it improves the semantics of the expression. (and
the direction of substitution would be an unexpected one, with the
more frequent "trample" replaced by the less frequent "trammel".)

i've posted on ADS-L repeatedly on this point over the years, and
turned some of this discussion into Language Log postings on things
that aren't eggcorns (including some that are close).  see, for example:

AZ, 8/8/07: Pails and flounders:

AZ, 10/15/07: Cow-towing to Celsius:

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