[Ads-l] YouTubery: "I guess you never heard of a _wheelbarrel_."

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 20 15:22:42 UTC 2019

I'd call "wheelbarrel" an *eggcorn*, not a folk etymology. It's not just a
supposed-but-inaccurate description of the origin of a word, but
"a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly
logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as
part of a set expression...
First known use: 2003"
--*Merriam-Webster Unabridged*,

It's easy to mishear "wheelbarrow" as "wheelbarrel", and explain it to
oneself by supposing that the object originated by mounting a barrel or
half of one on wheels; that would be a folk etymology. But going on to use
the mishearing in place of the correct one is a step beyond etymology and
has won a name of its own.

See also
*• Language Log*, "*Eggcorn* makes it into Merriam-Webster", May 30, 2015,
• NPR, *The Two-Way*, "'Eggcorns': The Gaffes That Spread Like
Wildflowers", May 30, 2015,

On Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:36 AM Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com> wrote:

> On Fri, Apr 19, 2019 at 10:31:59AM -0400, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > > On Apr 19, 2019, at 4:15 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> > >
> > > I guess that I'm not the only person to have interpreted "wheelbarrow"
> as
> > > "wheelbarrel." But I didn't continue to think that after I learned to
> read.
> > >
> > > --
> > > -Wilson
> >
> > As I’ve mentioned on the list, my wife (from Connecticut) regularly
> refers to ours as a “wheelbarrel”, although she has learned to read and
> does so quite often.  The web indicates she’s not alone.
> >
> I was asked about this when I was doing the Word of the Day site at Random
> House, so many years ago:
> https://web.archive.org/web/20011214023332/http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19960725

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

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