lease » leash

Chiefly in:   new leash on life

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • But it could give the neocons a new leash on life, a way to invigorate their exhausted ideological engines. (Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish, July 9, 2007)
  • 38-year-old, mother-of-three Lauren Bays revels in her new body and new leash on life after undergoing “mommy makeover” plastic surgery. (ABC News, July 8, 2011)
  • Baldur’s Gate is getting a new leash on life from Overhaul Games with an enhanced edition coming this summer to the iPad and OS X. (Technology Tell, Apr. 6, 2012)
  • Commercial radio seemed dead, but college radio gave it a new leash on life. (Radio Survivor, Apr. 23, 2012)
  • Now Pacquiao has a new leash on life and a new found spiritual guidance that has changed his life for the better. (The Sports Mistress, June 9, 2012)
  • This gesture reduced stress, allowed me to open my heart to greater spontaneity and a new leash on life. (Dream Builders Australia, June 22, 2012)

Analyzed or reported by:

This often appears as an intentional dog-related pun, as in the song “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along” from The Muppet Movie (used by Rowlf the Dog).

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2012/07/01 |

single » signal

Chiefly in:   signal out

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Sure, there are some annoying past-bonus contract issues involved, and some of the individuals signaled out for retention may not be the right ones to get them. (Roy C. Smith, Forbes.com, Mar. 17, 2009)
  • While the president may hope for a short bankruptcy, it may not be that simple, especially with those creditors that Obama signaled out for not cooperating. (Jake Tapper et al., ABC News, Apr. 30, 2009)
  • We, the boys, were cruel to each other, a prerequisite for getting through the school day — either it was you who would get the leather strap or the petrified boy sitting next to you, and his being signaled out for the bout of perversity gave you a reprieve, if only a temporary one. (Padraig O'Malley, Boston Globe, May 27, 2009)
  • But in a parting political shot, he signaled out Republican leadership who he said have promised nothing but more “heated rhetoric.” (Michael A. Memoli, Los Angeles Times, Oct. 30, 2010)
  • First it was the far right, which signaled out “Spongebob” for promoting a gay and global-warming agendas. (Daniel Frankel, Reuters/The Wrap, Sep. 11, 2011)
  • District Attorney Mike Ramsey refiled the child abuse counts only against Bram, who asserted she was being signaled out for breast-feeding toddler Thor and newborn Zeus while using pot. (Peter Hecht, Sacramento Bee, June 12, 2012)
  • He told the commission that 70% of campaign money is not reported at the provincial level – without signaling out any political party. (Michael Qaqish, iPolitics.ca, June 26, 2012)

Analyzed or reported by:

Pat Schwieterman notes that H. W. Fowler long ago warned of confusion between single and signal. From the 1944 American edition of Modern English Usage:

Unfortunately, there is just nearness enough in meaning between the verb single on the one hand &, on the other, the adjective signal & the verb signalize to make it easy for the uncharitable to suspect writer rather than printer; & therefore especial care is called for, as with deprecate & depreciate.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2012/06/28 |

cole slaw » cold slaw

Classification: English – final d/t-deletion

Spotted in the wild:

  • The popular salad made of shredded cabbage was originally “cole slaw,” from the Dutch for “cabbage salad.” Because it is served cold, Americans have long supposed the correct spelling to be “cold slaw”; but if you want to sound more sophisticated go with the original. (Brians, Common Errors)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Paul Brians (link)
  • Arnold Zwicky (link)

Very common eggcorn, discussed several times on the Eggcorn Forum.

Thanks to final d/t-deletion, cold slaw and cole slaw are very frequently homophonous.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2012/06/13 |

hollandaise » holland day

Chiefly in:   holland day sauce

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • Q: What is holland day sauce? A: A rich creamy sauce made of butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice or vinegar is holland day sauce. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Arnold Zwicky (link)
  • Peter Forster (link)

See also hollandaise >> holiday(s). This is marked as questionable because there’s no obvious semantic motivation for the reinterpretation, only a formal motivation.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2012/06/13 |

hollandaise » holiday(s)

Chiefly in:   holiday(s) sauce

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I found an eggcorn at brunch yesterday! My boyfriend asked me if I liked the holiday sauce on my poached eggs. I asked him to repeat himself so I could be sure of what I’d heard. Once I told him the actual name of the sauce, he said that he’d always wondered what holiday the sauce was originally from. (lolphysics on Eggcorn Forum)
  • I grew up thinking hollandaise sauce was actually called “holidays sauce” because we only ever had it on holidays. (Manolo for the Big Girl site, on Arnold Zwicky's blog)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Arnold Zwicky (link)
  • various posters on Eggcorn Forum (link)

The eggcorn came up in a Zits cartoon strip, and that led me back to the Eggcorn Forum discussion. Yet another variant, Holland day sauce is posted on separately.

The connection to holiday food is clearly made in several of the sources.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2012/06/13 |