EGGCORNS. I have learned another new word—“eggcorn”. This wikipedia article defines an eggcorn as: “an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker’s dialect. The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context….” The article gives examples: “ex-patriot” instead of “expatriate”; “mating name” instead of “maiden name”; “on the spurt of the moment” instead of “on the spur of the moment”. The word “eggcorn” was coined by the linguists at the Language Log blog. It was taken from the usage of “eggcorn” for “acorn”. Mark Liberman says in this post at that site that internet data shows that “eggcorn” is used about once for every 1000 uses of “acorn”. Liberman credits Greg Pullum for the observation that “eggcorns are tiny little poems, a symptom of human intelligence and creativity.”

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  1. Pingback: “These were pure animal survival instinks.” | You Knew What I Meant

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