Eggcorn: "point fun at"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Feb 13 00:50:22 UTC 2013

Pointing fun at is more polite than poking fun at.


At 2/12/2013 11:29 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
>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 -
>The American Dialect Society -

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