euphemism » youthamism

Variant(s):  youthanism

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I’d jokingly ’spaz out’ and rant that ‘Sheila’ is an Australian youthamism, but some one has removed large fonts from my arsenal. (rap music forum, Feb 26, 2008)
  • drop-kick a banana
    this is a sexual youthanism made up by my friend jay but now everyone in town and school uses it. He had an unripe banana for lunch so spat it out and drop-kicked it causing a suspicous white mess on his shoe. After trying to explain it, jay and eventually other use “drop-kick a banana” as referance to anything sexual involving both a penis and a foot. (Urban Dictionary, Jul 22, 2008)
  • As it is I will continue kicking and taking names as Solider Shepard. (Bioware video game forum, Jan 4, 2008)
  • Now that the Internet has been “to use a youthamism” unleashed, information technology can flourish in this newly interconnected web of routers and servers across the globe. (Linkedin Answers, March 2009)
  • is pepper some new youthamism i dont know about :p (Flickr comment, April 2009)
  • On an ‘unconnected’ story the Shanghai District Public Sanitation Bureau has just issued 50,000 maps of local public conveniences for taxi drivers, it describes the initiative as a way to “reduce environment pollution”. Which has to be one of the best youthanisms I have ever heard! (blog entry, Feb 23, 2008)

Analyzed or reported by:

Once in a while I select an eggcorn because it appears in the seach terms of visitors to this site (the Eggcorn Database & associated forums). When I saw “youthamism” ranked 15th both for the month of August 2009 and for the enitre year to date, it seemed to me that something of interest was happening here.

Peter Forster’s forum post, which attracted all these visits, lists two innovations: _youthamism_ as noted here, and the less eggcornish _euthamism_ (usually in effect a creative error for _euthanaisa_, maybe triggered by the less common -sia suffix). The variant _youthanism_ can be found, too, indeed at a higher frequency than _youthamism_. Both, as eggcornish substitutions for _euphemism_, rely on an association of coy camouflage of offending words with youth.

However, _youthanism_ and to a lesser degree _youthamism_ can occur in situations of questionable eggcorn status, in the sense of “youth slang” — a blendoid reshaping of euphemism, most likely:

* _You have to limit yourself on how many “get her done” and “gag me with a spoon” you can have in your life. Youthamism are just that, for the youth to use, no honest adult should fall for the MTV trappings._ (link)
* _Can we start calling young slang “youthanisms”?_ (link)
* _Reading numerous reviews of this hotel posted here is mystifying, many contrasting comments like “smells of urine” or “sparsely furnished,“ to such superlatives as “immaculate” and youthanisms like “Plush,” demonstrating that this hotels appeal is not bound by any generational gaps._ (link)

Last, for reasons that are not clear, we find cites where _youtha(n|m)ism_ is employed in the sense of “quote” or “maxim”:

* _I am doing a speech why Sir Paul McCartney should be on the 4th plynth in London..whatare some famous quotes? like quotes to help persuade people to have him up there. My teacher is fairly old - around 50-60 and likes old, famous quotes E.g. She likes the quote “lend me your ears” by William Shakespeare. Any youthanisms would be good._ (link)
* _need some help here… I need to know some youthanisms. I typed it into the search engine Google but it came up with nothing… By youthanisms i mean something like “I want to live life to it’s fullest” “I want to live out my time” “I want to live my 9 lives” That kind of stuff…_ (link)

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/08/26 |

imprimatur » impremature

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • It’s one thing when homosexuals design moral views around their sexual preferences, another thing entirely when constitutional lawyers give them the impremature of constitutional legitimacy by throwing out anything based on religion. ( forum, July 20, 2009)
  • That text has nothing to do with the intent of the other text. It tries to apply the impremature of the IETF to the proposal. (IETF pptext mailing list, Dec 8, 2005)
  • The WINO “report?” Some day, to a lot of Jews, it will look like the Warren Commission Report. Which stands out as quite a piece of junk, getting the impremature of a worthless American Chief Justice. BIG DEAL. (blog comment, May 8, 2007)

Analyzed or reported by:

An _imprimatur_ — the Latin can be translated as _let it be printed_ — was originally an official license to print or publish, granted by the Roman Catholic church, thereby declaring the work in question as compatible with Roman Catholic doctrine. The word is used by extension to refer to any official endorsement, or even more widely, any kind of (emphatic) approval. The semantic link with _premature_ is that for a work that requires some institution’s imprimature, it would be premature to publish it until the imprimatur has been granted.

_Impremature_ can also be found substituting for the word _imprint_ — a particular publisher’s brand or label — as for example in:

> “Chances are good that someone–perhaps _Salon_, _Huffington Post_, the _Daily Beast_–will pick up Froomkin’s column and keep it going. Of course, it won’t quite be the same. It won’t have the Washington Post’s impremature on it.” (link)

What may be happening here is that the two rather learned terms _imprimatur_ and _imprint_ (both obviously close etymological relatives) blend in some speakers’ vocabulary, and the _imprimatur_>_impremature_ substitution extends out to _imprint_.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/08/24 |

cacophony » cacoughany

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I tell her what I’m looking for as we enter the room, whereupon all hell breaks loose. Everything from three massive macaws down to dozens of teeny finches make an unbelievable cacoughany. I wince, barely managing to not cover my ears. (LiveJournal post, Jul 9, 2007)
  • The sound of frustrated youth crashed unto the floor. Him standing ready, like ready to axe through the biggest oak tree. The speakers sound in cacoughany… (myspace blog post, Feb 27, 2005)
  • Unfortunately I as coming home one night after a movie when the manifold finally gave way under their evil yet devastating efforts and my car roared into a cacoughany of puffing, snapping, screeching, and overall noise not too far from what you would expect from someone chain sawing a herd of donkeys. (myspace blog post, Sep 26, 2007)
  • “That kids crazy mother beat me up with a broom!” The redneck said pointing my way and you could’ve heard a pin drop in the three full seconds of silence that followed before Tom Reynolds exploded with a cacoughany of laughter and saliva all over the rednecks’ swollen face. (personal page, retrieved Aug 22, 2009 Nov 11, 2006)
  • As the song reaches it’s height with a total cacoughany of sounds. I see the horrific sight of Hincapie peddling, arms flailing, out of control with a broken steerer tube, inevitably crashing hard and ending his race. (blog post, Nov 11, 2006)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Cacophony_, from Greek κακός (kakos, “bad”) + φωνή (phonē, “voice”), has been around in English since the mid-1600s at least, according to Merriam-Webster. Analogous words with close to the same sense exist in French (cacophonie), Spanish (cacofonía), German (Kakofonie), Norwegian (kakofoni) and many other languages.

Coughing, as Peter Forster notes in his Eggcorn forum post, “makes a harsh and discordant noise, and it seems reasonable to suppose that those using a ‘cacoughany’ spelling may have made some association between the two and have entered, therefore, eggcorn territory.” When _cacoughany_ refers to a specific sound the word can be understood as describing it as as harsh and unpleasant as coughing.

There are quite a few other spelling variants, such as _cacoughony_ (which looks eggcornish) or _cacoffini_ (which looks more like spelling-by-ear, without any plausible link to _coffin_).

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/08/23 |

fetal » feeble

Chiefly in:   (curled up) in the feeble position

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Donnie was in the feeble position on the floor rocking back and forth. (blog fiction by Robert Kingett, July 20, 2009)
  • I was impressed. He was looking quite happy for someone who spent the last night sleeping in the feeble position. (, July 26, 2009)
  • Dwayne kept on punching and kicking Damian until one of Damien’s crew members came back with the gym teacher Mr. Croix who broke up the fight only to see that Damian was in the feeble position crying and bleeding on the floor. (blog entry, April 5, 2009)

Michael Covarrubias noted this eggcorn in his August 2, 2009 posting on the American Dialect Society’s listserv, overhearing ep. 2 of season 1 of the show _Coach_ (_I dropped on my knees, curled up in the feeble position, closed my eyes and screamed my head off_). He also noted that googling “the feeble position” returns a number of hits from skateboarding sites and discussion, where the phrase seems to refer to a position of the board perched on the edge of a ramp.

If a person is said to be placed (often: “curled up”) in the fetal position, this generally carries a sense beyond the mere positioning of the rump and limbs, but also signifies a state of extreme weakness and vulnerability. _Feeble_ is an adjective close to this sense. The substitution of [b] for the flapped t in _fetal_ — its usual realization in American English — is an easy change to make.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/08/16 |

eavesdrop » eardrop

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Some of the terms that are closely inspected in this chapter include attacks on integrity and confidentiality, wardriving, LAN jacking, wireless eardropping, WEP cracking and usage of rougue adapters. ( book review, June 4, 2003)
  • I mean just eardropping this morning I heard a lot. (Australian Government welcome address transcript, (1994))
  • Yes privacy and civil rights are important, but do you really think the government was more interested about eardropping on your silly conversations than about trying to prevent another attack? ( forum, August 28, 2006)

Analyzed or reported by:

On the original verb _eavesdrop_, see _eavesdrop_ » _ease drop_. _Eardrop_ makes immediate sense.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/05/18 |