Return of the Big Kahuna(s)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Nov 13 21:26:27 UTC 2010

On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 6:50 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> In a college football game last night, University of Connecticut
> coach Randy Edsall had his team, which was deep in his own territory
> protecting a 2-point lead, go for a first down on fourth and 2 with
> just over two minutes left against Pittsburgh rather than going the
> conservative route and punting.  Star running back Jordan Todman got
> the first down and UConn successfully ran out the clock to win the
> game.  Afterwards, Edsall explained, "Some people might say it takes
> a lot of Kahunas to make that call. I just looked at the situation."
> I just heard this statement on the local Connecticut news==and yes,
> the sports anchor did comment that that probably wasn't Edsall meant,
> but he's certainly the Big Kahuna now.  Googling "Randy Edsall" +
> "Kahunas" indicates that a number of other observers had caught this
> eggcorn, some referring to it as Edsall's "ballsy" call or move.  A
> nice Hispano-Hawaiian blend, in any case.

Mark Liberman talked about this eggcorn on Language Log:

By the way, be careful typing "kahuna"/"cahuna" on your smartphone:


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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