yet another for the eggcorn file

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Dec 24 01:24:38 UTC 2004

excerpt from a posting to my cancer list, describing the cumulatively
harder-to-take side effects of a relatively arduous form of
chemotherapy often prescribed for a particular form of lymphoma:

The "B" part of Hyper Cvad in my opinion is the roughest.  This was
the part that included Methotrexate.  It was after that round of
treatment that my counts would always crash.  I would need platlets
and blood after each of those.  After the 3rd "B" cycle I got a nose
bleed and it bled for 6 hours, that was an emergency trip.  Then I
got a great big bruise on my face.  Needless to say I coward out of
the 4th cycle and opted for part "A" for the last one.

The OED has no intransitive verb "to coward", although there is a
rare and essentially obsolete transitive verb meaning 'to make a
coward of'.  The expected past tense of such a verb would of course
be "cowarded (out)", synonymous with "chickened out", and indeed
there are 101 google hits for "cowarded out", despite its presumed
blocking by "chickened out".  I suspect that the above form blends
the spelling and meaning of the noun "coward" with the homonymous
past inflected verb form "cowered" (an unrelated word, to be sure,
but one in roughly the right semantic field).

larry (who in fact coward 1/3 of the way out of his own 4th B cycle a
couple of years ago)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list