Your Funny Little Eggcorns

Your Funny Little Eggcorns

Do you use eggcorns too? And if you do, which ones do you use? 

Hang on. I better back up a bit and explain what they are. Eggcorns, which sound like acorns (or a serious foot problem) are a lot like mondogreens.  

I can hear you saying, “No wait. Now this is really getting confusing.”

... there are heaps of these eggcorns everywhere in the way people speak.

Try this then. Eggcorns are misheard words or phrases. While mondogreens are misheard song lyrics.

There. Not that confusing after all.

Err… 

I love how the word eggcorn is itself an eggcorn for acorn. Clever huh?

And there are heaps of these eggcorns everywhere in the way people speak. Like:

  • Nipping it in the butt when it’s meant to be nipping it in the bud.

  • On tender hooks instead of on tenterhooks (because there’s no such thing as a tender hook)

  • To all intensive purposes instead of to all intents and purposes

  • Old wise tale rather than old wives’ tale

  • Off your own back which is an eggcorn for off your own bat

  • Front in center which is mean to be front and center

  • I could care less rather than I couldn’t care less  

  • Old timers’ disease which is a kind of innocent twist on Alzheimer’s Disease

People sometimes say it’s a doggy dog world. Only, it’s not and it never was. The expression is dog-eat-dog world, Unlike a doggy world, this one is kind of ruthless and hard.

  • A damp squid is a funny take on a damp squib

  • You’re a real card sharp instead of you’re a real card shark

  • World wind romance sounds more meteorological than whirlwind romance

  • Give free range sounds more like a declaration against animal cruelty when the actual term is give free rein

  • Mist of things instead of midst of things just sounds odd

  • As does a hair’s breath rather than a hair’s breadth

  • Content with instead of contend with really changes the meaning

  • Whereas, chomp at the bit rather than champ at the bit still keeps some of the core idea.

It’s hilarious. Many an eggcorn stems from mishearing unfamiliar words. While some just come from having no idea what the point is at all.  

Many an eggcorn stems from mishearing unfamiliar words

Now take a look at these and see which is which:

  • White as a sheep for white as a sheet

  • Flush out for flesh out

  • Last rights when it’s last rites

  • Stream of conscience for stream of consciousness

  • Rebel rouser for rabble rouser

  • Escape goat for scapegoat

  • Buck naked for butt naked

  • Expresso for Espresso

  • Toeing the line instead of towing the line

  • Wonderlust for wanderlust

  • Chicken spots instead of chickenpox

  • Wet your appetite instead of whet your appetite

  • Daring do for derring do

  • Optical delusion for optical illusion

  • Medium strip for median strip

  • Lesser of two equals for lesser of two evils.

And, which of these words have you heard. Or, if you can admit it, you’ve used to?  

  • Pacific for specific

  • Mirro for mirror

  • Disingenuine for disingenuous

  • Duck tape for duct tape

  • Cow-tow instead of kowtow

  • Garbledygook for gobbledygook

  • Limp instead of lymph (so limp odema, & limp nodes)

  • Elk for ilk

  • Dough-eyed for doe-eyed 

  • Pre-Madonna for prima donna

  • Chester drawers for chest of drawers

  • Youthamism for euphamism

  • Mute point for moot point.

That we have so many eggcorns tells you just how complicated English is

That we have so many eggcorns tells you just how complicated English is. Add that to the fact we’ve got well over a million words to play with in the first place. So, it’s hardly surprising we get confused.  

Still, if you want to speak the Queen’s English wellerer than them people next to you, better watch out for them eggcorns. Either that or be prepared to have a good, loud and long laugh at yourself.

 

Just Don’t Make a Happy Face

Just Don’t Make a Happy Face

Happy Procrastination Day!

Happy Procrastination Day!

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