"mixmash" eggcorn?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jan 26 18:40:42 UTC 2009

At 12:38 PM -0500 1/26/09, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>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_.)
Mightn't there be an influence from Yiddish somewhere?  I've usually
heard the word as the Yinglish "mishmosh" (with an /a/ vowel in the
second syllable, not /ae/), and I'd have taken "mixmash" to be a
blend of "mishmosh" with "mix" and "mash(-up)", the last of which
I've learned from my kids.


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

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