uppermost--not yet an eggcorn

Herb Stahlke hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 4 21:12:01 UTC 2009

Russell, in his thoughtful discussion of “upmost” on the ECDB Forum,
suggests “uppermost” as a form bearing the meaning that “upmost” tries
to express, but he doesn’t suggest examples of “uppermost” for
“utmost.” I found one this afternoon in Bart Ehrman’s book God’s
Problem (HarperCollins 2008). On p. 194 he writes, “It should drive us
to enjoy life to the uppermost for as long as we can and in every way
we can.” Googling the phrase “to the uppermost” brought over 10
million hits. I checked only the first hundred, and all of them were
followed by a head noun expressing degree or place. There was only one
case where “the uppermost” had no head noun, and that case was clearly
elliptical, with the head noun supplied a line earlier. I don’t think
this is enough yet to call it an egg-corn, one case in the wild, but
it is surprising in so skilled a writer as Ehrman, and I would expect
to find more instances.


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