[Ads-l] "running the gambit" in the wild

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 10 16:21:49 UTC 2015

Below is a citation displaying the gambit/gamut confusion (with the
phrase "ran the gambit") in a newspaper in Kentucky in 1957. Some
prescriptivists would reject this use with cool disdain and some
descriptivists would record it without judgement. (Shallow search: I
only searched for the exact target phrase "ran the gambit" in two

Date: May 24, 1957
Newspaper: Lexington Herald
Newspaper Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Article: Salvation Army Band Praised For 'Brilliant' Concert Here
Quote Page 25, Column 3
Database: GenealogyBank

[Begin excerpt]
In the one familiar number, a medley of Tschaikovsky numbers entitled
"Moments With Tschaikovsky" and arranged by Bramwell Coles, the band
ran the gambit from the slow and lovely melodies and harmonies of
"Songs without Words" and ."Chanson Triste" to the brilliant technical
display in the "Finale" to the "Fourth Symphony."
[End excerpt]


On Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 1:50 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "running the gambit" in the wild
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> On Nov 9, 2015, at 1:29 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> On Mon, Nov 9, 2015 at 11:21 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>> Yes, _run the gambit_ is already in the eggcorn database at
>>> =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__eggcorns.lascribe.ne=
> t_english_174_gambit_&d=3DAwIBaQ&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39=
> hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=3DiZkPcaIzEMJVm2RERLYDdSzP4kDWVFNkp5S9=
> ijAF7sI&s=3Dz9OodMDWxHDujc5dL5q0ENKcBC2ZOHomie9r1ygC-k4&e=3D .  But none =
> of the cites
>>> Chris assembles there are for edited (one hopes) prose in an actual
>>> book.  There's one such in Harlan Coben's _Play Dead_ (2010), Penguin
>>> Books:
>>> "But this was merely her mother's latest in a long series of Thursday
>>> night attempts at female bonding, running the gambit from bridge =
> games
>>> to sexual-awareness encounter groups."
>> 'Twas I, not Chris, who put together that particular ECDB entry.
> Ah, sorry for the faulty presupposition, Ben.  Thanks to both of you for =
> all the work that went (and continues to go) into the ECDB, and thanks =
> on this occasion also to Scott Brick, the reader of the audiobook of =
> _Play Dead_ for faithfully rendering Harlan Coben's original rather than =
> "correcting" it to _gamut_.
> LH
>> As
>> with many other entries I assembled in the early days of the database,
>> I focused on college publications for citations (easily found by
>> Googling on the .edu domain), since the prose in such sources tends to
>> be *somewhat* edited and thus more interesting for eggcorn-hunting
>> (from my perspective) than random blogs and forums. Even better when
>> eggcorns appear in carefully edited printed sources, as with Larry's
>> example.
>> --Ben
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - =
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=3Dhttp-3A__www.americandialect.=
> org&d=3DAwIBaQ&c=3D-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=3DwFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsS=
> ozv0mGu4kPVqUbCtniC3o3r0CLm8k9z3q7GQw&e=3D=20
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