nether » never

Chiefly in:   never regions

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Beneath the balcony are shop windows — or are they doorways? or … the entrance to the never regions. (Venice Gondolier, Apr. 7, 2004)
  • Rather worse for wear when I posted this topic originally, so duplicated it when I thought I had actually lost it somewhere in the never regions of my PC. (KVR Audio forum, Apr. 25, 2004)
  • Mr Admin was detained in the never regions of the country and a mystery Southend Central bug wiped out some of the other potential attendees! (Southend Central forum, Dec. 17, 2004)

Possibly influenced by Neverland of Peter Pan fame.

| 1 comment | link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/11 |

rank and file » ranking file

Classification: English – and «» in/en – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

In transcripts of committee meetings, there may be some confusion (on the part of either the speaker or the transcriber) between rank and file and ranking members of the committee.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/11 |

figment » pigment

Chiefly in:   a pigment of so.'s imagination

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • I hadn’t realised the comic strips in the funny pages were so deep. I thought Hobbes was just a pigment of Calvin’s imagination. (link)
  • Soul mates a pigment of the hyperactive imagination? (link)
  • Darfur is not a pigment of a hedonists imagination-it exists and the worst affected are the children-the girls who regardless of age have been raped on countless occasions since the fighting began,the boys who have been forced to become soldiers and murderers,the babies that have died due to starvation. (link)
  • This is all just a pigment of anyone’s imagination. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

A pigment is a small particle of paint that could be construed as something that colors one’s imagination.

This eggcorn was pointed out to me by Michel Valdrighi.

| 3 comments | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/09/11 |

roost » roast

Chiefly in:   chickens come home to roast

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • The deals were badly done and badly managed. By summer of 2000 all those chickens came home to roast. (Franchising World, June 1, 2003)
  • Strange that anyone in the US found it unacceptable to have a game where the player aims and shoots at the former US president. This is a typical “chickens coming home to roast” scenario. (Mail & Guardian Online forum, South Africa, Nov. 23, 2004)
  • “Last year Britain’s economy was really very strong, but this year will be the year when the chickens come home to roast,” said Bootle. (The Telegraph, Jan. 16, 2005)

This sometimes appears as a pun, but the above examples (and many others on the Web) are evidently unironic.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/11 |

threw » through

Chiefly in:   through (someone) for a loop

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Although engineering school through him for a loop, van de Walle found that he excelled as a graphic artist. (Space.com, Mar. 11, 2004)
  • “Who book?” means whose book and at first it through me for a loop, until I saw the kid holding a book. (Language Hat comment, Sep. 13, 2004)
  • The first surgery back in 1984, however, through Bay for a loop for quite awhile, especially given the fact that he is an artist. (Main Street Newspapers, Nov. 24, 2004)

Possibly influenced by the image of going through a loop.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/04 |