"contagious" 'contiguous'

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon May 25 13:49:43 UTC 2009

two finds:

1. fair number of hits (293 raw, 40 reduced) for "48 contagious
states", e.g.

This bear mace product CAN be legally shipped to all 48 contagious
states (also meaning legal in NY, MA, WI and MI where defense spray
products are normally ...

2. it turns out that this one is a *classic* classical malapropism,
from Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's The Rivals:

MRS. MALAPROP: I would have her instructed in geometry, that she might
know something of the contagious countries. — Act I, Sc.II

that's "geometry" 'geography'.


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

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