Is this an eggcorn?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 28 15:13:52 UTC 2009

On Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 10:43 AM, Bill Palmer <w_a_palmer at> wrote:
> I just listened to a presentation in which the speaker advocated =
> eliminating the "astigmatisms" associated with developmental =
> disabilities.
> Bill Palmer

Not an eggcorn, since it doesn't involve the reanalysis of a word or
phrase into a similar-sounding phrase that seems to make better sense
-- like "acorn" > "eggcorn", in dialects where "egg" has the same
vowel as the "a" in "acorn".

This is just a malapropism. In fact, the origin is the same. The Greek
root "stig-" in stizein 'to prick, puncture' (cognate to "stick"),
yielding the Gk. word "stigma" 'point; mark made by a pointed
instrument; brand' (OED).

English "stigma" reflects the second or third sense as 'A mark made
upon the skin by burning with a hot iron (rarely, by cutting or
pricking), as a token of infamy or subjection; a brand. Also

"Astigmatism" is morphologically literally 'the condition of being
without a point'. When I look at the clear night sky without my
glasses, the stars are blurred splotches instead of points.

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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