Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Sun May 20 18:16:04 UTC 2007

On May 19, 2007, at 12:46 PM, you wrote:

> BBC America's print and online catalogues contain the following blurb
> for the Guinness Toucan T-shirt: "Dublin's most famous brewery has
> been
> slacking thirsts for more than 175 years...."
> Would that qualify as an eggcorn?

possibly.  not anywhere on the ecdb site, and i've found just one
relevant hit for "slacking thirst":

Slacking thirst. .. Regularly hydrate yourself. Sip water
between sets, aiming to drink at least. one glass every fifteen
minutes you are training. ... modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=

but several more for "slack my thirst" -- e.g.

Forget about the lovely ales they brewed in London until last summer.
Goodbye, Britannia. I shall seek out other places to slack my
thirst! ...

and "slack your thirst" -- e.g.

Just like the hat to keep the sun off, the dark glasses to reduce the
glare, the sunblock to stop you burning, the drink to slack your
thirst, you will fit ...

the problem is that the OED has the verb "slack" 'to slake (one's
thirst)' from 1631 on, and that transitive "slack" 'reduce, diminish'
would make sense with the object "thirst".  and in fact "slack" and
"slake" are developments from the same OE verb.  so this isn't a very
clear case.  i suspect that the idiom "slake one's thirst" has been
eggcorned more than once to "slack" (using a much more common word),
but it's hard to verify this.

in any case, a much more complex case than i'd thought at first.

arnold zwicky

The American Dialect Society -

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