Eggcorn: "point fun at"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 12 16:29:00 UTC 2013

Here is an instance of "pointing fun at" in 1893. But the frequency of
occurrence of the phrase seems to be much lower than the phrase
"poking fun at". (See OED entry below.) Charlie did not say what
phrase the eggcorn was based on, and I am inferring that the starting
phrase was "poking fun at".

[ref] 1893 November 25, "The Athenaeum: A Journal of Literature,
Science, the Fine Arts, Music, and the Drama", Ossian in Fiction,
(Letter to editor from the author of 'An Ancient Ancestor'), Quote
Page 734, Column 3, Published by John C. Francis, London. [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Your reviewer is not alone in pointing fun at my Greek monogram and my
Latin inscription; but every student of archaeology knows that the
tombstones of heroes who lived and died in the early ages of the
Christian era have been found in the British Isles similarly
[End excerpt]

The OED has a relevant entry for "poke one's fun at" with a first cite in 1795.

poke, v.1
4. c. trans. to poke (one's) fun (at) : to tease, ridicule, make fun
of, esp. in a sly or indirect manner.
1795   J. Swanwick Rub from Snub 57,   I fancied some waggith ‘wight’
had been poking his fun at you.
1825   J. Neal Brother Jonathan 108   He's ony pokin' fun at us, all
the time, I know!


On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 10:26 AM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU>
> Subject:      Eggcorn:  "point fun at"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A folklore student of mine mentioned (in writing) "jokes pointing fun at someone . . . ."
> I find 109,000 raw Google hits for the participial form "pointing fun at."  (The form "point fun at" gets too many false positives.)
> Charlie
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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