discomforted--new eggcorn?

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Wed Apr 8 18:08:12 UTC 2009

On Apr 8, 2009, at 10:50 AM, Herb Stahlke wrote:

> ...
> In this week's Newsweek, Michael Isikoff writes of the upcoming
> Blagojevich trial, "Democrats won't be the only one's discomforted by
> the trial."  I think he means "discomfited."...

this came up in comments on a posting on my blog:

i replied to Gabe Doyle:
(A side point: I noticed “It’s rather discomforting to read”, where I
might have used “discomfitting”. Turns out that the verbs discomfort
and discomfit have different sources and different earlier histories,
but have now converged: NOAD2 has ‘make (someone) feel uneasy,
anxious, or embarrassed’ for discomfort and ‘make (someone) feel
uneasy or embarrassed' for discomfit. There’s a MWDEU entry for
discomfit, noting that

  >Several usage commentators have, in the past, tried to convince
their readers that discomfit means “to rout, completely defeat” and
not “to discomfort, embarrass, disconcert, make uneasy”<

and going on to observe that this is not true of current usage.)


Gabe followed up:

I thought that “discomforting” was somewhat unusual when I used it,
but I don’t feel like I’d normally use “discomfitting” there either
(especially since I didn’t really know what it meant until I OEDed it
just now. Hmm… I think maybe “disconcerting” is what I was thinking of.


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