faze » phase

Chiefly in:   phased, unphased

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • Mr James is unlikely to be phased by the criticisms which will undoubtedly come his way in taking on the much derided dome. (Guardian, September 6, 2000)
  • She was not phased by her opposition. “It was weird I had to keep reminding myself who I was swimming against,” she said. (Daily Telegraph - Sport, 16 February 2005)
  • Kucinich not phased by Gephardt’s early dropout (The Lantern, February 5, 2004)
  • University not phased by allegations against school apparel manufacturer (Daily Illini, March 5, 2004)
  • And yet, through all of this, there stood Onyx. Unscathed, and apparently unphased by the very worst that Fay has had to offer thus far. (Bestviral.com videos, March 5, 2008)

Analyzed or reported by:

Google indicates 50,000 hits on English pages for _fazed by_ versus 26,600 for _phased by_. An original/eggcorn ratio of 1.88 is very high, and indeed the substitution is found frequently in journalistic writing. The Guardian’s _Corrections and clarifications_ columns offer several examples, such as this one, with a hint of exasperation:

> A preview of tonight’s episode of 24 on page 89 of the Guide, states, “She’s the only one not that phased by Jack, Tony and Gael’s secret plot …” The word (once again) should be fazed.

The Language Log post referenced above provides further information, such as Arnold Zwicky’s commentary:

> MWDEU has an entertaining entry on “faze, phase, feaze, feeze”, which notes that “phase” for “faze” is very common and remarks that it “is almost a century old now, and we are not especially hopeful that it will be phased out.” But they do recommend reserving “faze” to mean ‘daunt’. [..]

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage has an entry on it as well.

Edit, 2008-08-26 (CW): Added reference to and cites for “unphased”, which, as rightly pointed out by Ken Lakritz in the Eggcorn forums, were missing from this entry.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/16 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by ACW , 2005/04/06 at 7:13 pm

    I don’t know whether Massimo Pigliucci is a native English-speaker; but here is one place he has substituted “faced” for “fazed”: link.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Ivar Svensen , 2006/04/27 at 9:41 am

    How can phased by be an eggcorn when the requirement is that it makes sense. To be phased by something doesn’t make sense other than in some star trek fashion, however the mistake is increasingly common. I attribute this kind of “eggcorn” (in lack of a better term) to the blind trust people have in spell-checkers. These will never pick up on such errors, and therefore contributes to the decay of the language. Soon we’ll be accepting there’s for theirs etc.

    Anyone agree?

  3. 3

    Commentary by John Baker , 2006/05/05 at 11:29 am

    Why suppose this is an eggcorn? “Phase” is a long-standing spelling and is accepted by Webster’s Third.

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