eggcorn versus malaprop

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Feb 1 02:00:54 UTC 2006

On 1/31/06, James Landau <jjjrlandau at> wrote:
> How do you distinguish between an eggcorn and a malaprop?
> At work the big boss from DC, after the obligatory sarcasm about our
> inability to keep schedules and our tendency to let things drop through the
> cracks (i.e. our office Christmas tree ws still up), twice used the
> expression "put your best face forward".  Afterwards I got into a
> disagreement with the local boss as to whether this expression should be
> classified as an eggcorn or as a malaprop.

I'd put it in a third category: idiom blend. The expression blends
"put your best foot forward" with "put the best face on (something)".

See this Language Log post on idiom blends:

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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