OED definition of eggcorn is wrong

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Sep 16 16:36:22 UTC 2010

On Thu, Sep 16, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Mark Peters wrote:
> The key element of an eggcorn is that it's a *logical* mistake--it has to make
> sense. That's what distinguishes it from a malapropism or mondegreen. When my
> mom calls carpal tunnel syndrome "carnal tunnel-vision syndrome," that's no
> eggcorn, because it makes no sense (it is awesome, though).
> But the OED's definition (new this week) leaves this out: "An alteration of a
> word or phrase through the mishearing or  reinterpretation of one or more of
> its elements as a similar-sounding  word."
> Arggh! That's a gigantic omission, isn't it? Or did I just put too much crack
> on my corn flakes this morning? Maybe " reinterpretation" is supposed to
> cover the logic part, but I don't know...
> Ben, Arnold, others, what do you think?

I'm with Mark on this one -- see my Language Log post:



Ben Zimmer

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list