"mixmash" eggcorn?

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Jan 26 17:20:12 UTC 2009

On Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 12:02 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:
> a comment by Netty on the Language Log posting "snarge"
>   http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1066
> Oh sorry, it is all in English. I don't divide the two languages
> sometimes. In our house it is a mixmash of English and German!
> .....
> then from Steve:
> @ Netty: Mixmash? I've always said mishmash, myself. (And said it, not
> written it, so |I'm not absolutely sure about the spelling. Should it
> be two words or hyphenated perhaps?) Anyway, is it just me? Is mixmash
> a variant (131,000 google hits, as opposed to 1,570,000 for mishmash)
> or is it an eggcorn? Judging from the first few google hits, mixmash
> seems to have a specific meaning in the world of dance music -
> whereas, despite a certain bias towards the worlds of clothing and
> cookery, mishmash seems to have a more general meaning.
> .....
> most of the hits seem to have to do with Mix Mash Records or MixMash
> software.  and then there's Maggi Cold Mix Mash, a mashed potato mix.
> some others look like intentional play, as in:
>   A mix mash of different work - Conceptual Mixed Media by Artist
> www.culturehall.com/work.html?id=2984
> there might be some genuine eggcorning in there, but it's hard to find.

Google Book Search has a few eggcornic exx, e.g.:

"'Photography in the Fine Arts' was a distressing mixmash."
--Ansel Adams, letter, Oct. 14, 1962
In: _Ansel Adams: Letters, 1916-1984_ (2001), p. 295

(I'm reminded of _mixty-maxty_ or _mixter-maxter_, Sc./N. Eng.
equivalents to _mishmash_.)

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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