metal » medal

Chiefly in:   pedal to the medal

Classification: English – /t/-flapping – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Yet it’s so pedal-to-the-medal for most of its runtime that it’s hard not to get caught up in the swirling adrenaline. (UCLA Daily Bruin, Nov. 1, 1996)
  • Pedal to the medal, 90 mph, “I can’t hold her together much longer, captain” bluegrass. (Univ. of Mississippi Daily Mississippian, Mar. 24, 2000)
  • Mr. Russert, I was so upset by the things my wife said, I put the pedal to the medal and one of these police officers came up behind me with the flashing light and said, ‘you’re going 40 in a 25 I want to see your license and registration.’ (American University commencement address, Tim Russert, May 8, 2005)

Since the expression _(put the) pedal to the metal_ already rhymes, why not make the spelling align as well? The semantic slippage between _metal_ and _medal_ has already been noted working in the other direction (see medal » metal).

| 1 comment | link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/17 |

cuttlefish » cuddlefish

Classification: English – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • The logic game involves moving Barbie around a group of baby cuddlefish and quieting their crying. (GZ Kidzone)
  • From the ocean comes what we’ve feasted on daily: mahi-mahi, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, lobster too large to feed four people, reef crab, coconut crab, fresh water prawns, cuddlefish (like a big squid- makes incredible calamari). (Offshore Odysseys)
  • Frutti Di Mare Alla Como
    Marinated octopus, calamari and cuddlefish
    $7.95 (menu of the Como Inn, Chicago)
  • Squids and cuddlefish are modern decendants of the the orthoceris. (link)
  • Here divers will find the flamboyant cuddlefish, whose ability to flash an array of colors is simply amazing. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

| 1 comment | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/07/16 |

deluded » diluted

Variant(s):  self-diluted

Classification: English – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • He says it makes him weep when he sees them poor diluted fools going around and thinking they is well men, talking and laughing and marrying and giving in to marriage right on the edge of the grave. (Danny's Own Story, by Don Marquis, 1912)
  • No, it comes from plain, simple spite. Spite, caused by people who think the average Mac user is some sad, diluted fool who doesn’t “know any better”. (Capitalist Lion, June 24, 2003)
  • Can we ever again be diluted into believing sanctions work? (OpinionJournal reader response, Nov. 2003)
  • Obviously buoyed by the self-diluted notion of momentum and the L.A. Times Poll thru the Conservative echo chamber buzz, the Bush camp and the RNC knew damn well the contents of Miller’s speech – and, pulled the trigger on another ‘slam dunk’, anyway. (Democrats & Liberals, Sep. 6, 2004)
  • Indeed, these diluted souls (as represented by Mr. Carlson above) feel they have the right to tell a worldwide religious organization who should lead them. (Righting Wisconsin, Apr. 22, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

For many American speakers, _diluted_ can be pronounced with a first vowel of /ə/ or /ɪ/ (and the usual flap or tap for intervocalic /t/), rendering it nearly homonymous with _deluded_.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/16 |

short-sighted » short-sided

Classification: English – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • While I agree that comparisons between Al Queda and a trained national military force is short sided, dhoyt, I would not agree that religious martyrdom and cold blooded murder are in any way the same (besides, wouldn’t angry, indiscriminate terrorists be committing hot blooded manslaughter?). (MetaFilter)
  • I don’t think there is one group of people that is greedy and then us poor people aren’t greedy that I think is silly, but I do think people are short sided. I think record companies are short sided and created and exasperate a lot of these problems so I hold my industry accountable and we always were the elite kind of store with out industry anyways. (link)
  • “I think it is very short-sided to contaminate the environment for a short-term gain,” Post said. (Odessa American Online, 09 June 2005)
  • If true, this practice is at once both unnecessary and incredibly short-sided. (link)
  • I think that it’s very much a short sided “might makes right policy” that really needs to change. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

This is another one of the American English /t/-flapping eggcorns, like _deep-seeded_, _centripetal » centripedal_ etc.

In soccer and other varieties of football, _short-sided_ refers to a game that is played between teams of fewer than 11 players (sides of seven or five are popular). The American Youth Soccer Organization “recommends that all children under the age of 12 play short-sided (less than 11 players per team) soccer”. The Football Association (England) uses the _small-sided_ for games played by teams “of not more than seven players, one of whom is the goalkeeper”. Apparently, _short-sided_ is also a legitimate golf term.

[Information on _short-sided_ in football corrected after an error was pointed out by Mark Liberman on Language Log.]

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/07/13 |

shudder » shutter

Classification: English – questionable – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Martha screamed out underneath me as I pumped her faster than before. I could feel her shutter and arch her back up beneath me.” (link)
  • “I shutter to think of what our future holds, now more than ever. … I shutter to think that anyone reads her column except for yucks.” (link)
  • “I shutter in anticipation.. Then again, maybe I don’t.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Neil Crawford (American Dialect Society mailing list, 6 June 2005)

The first cite was provided by Neil Crawford on ADS-L. “I shutter to think” was also reported in a comment by Nigel Morphine on this site (24 February 2005). Googling “I shutter” nets quite a few web occurrences.

It could just be a misspelling, turning on American intervocalic flapping, which makes “shutter” and “shudder” homophones, or nearly so. The question is whether users of this spelling think shutters are involved. Lacking evidence one way or the other, I’ve marked it as “questionable”.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/06/07 |