utmost » upmost
Spotted in the wild:
- It will give comfort to would-be euro counterfeiters in the 11 nations adopting the new coins and notes from January 1 2002, and is likely to embarrass the European commission and the European central bank, both keen to be seen to be doing their upmost to guard against the risk of fraud. (Andrew Osborn in The Guardian, Aug 30, 2000)
- The important thing was that both teams truly captured the Olympic spirit in fighting for supremacy for every second of the match, but displaying the upmost respect for each other after the final whistle. (Allon Sinai in The Jerusalem Post, Aug 24, 2008)
- Looking ahead to the game Head Coach, Shaun Edwards, said, “We have the up most respect for our opponents Edinburgh and we will be taking a strong team up there on Saturday ready for a highly competitive game. […]” (lions-tour.com, Aug 22, 2008)
- The Sportsplex does the upmost best to offer programs that are requested by the community such as the Hockey School, Ladies Hockey School and Power Skating and so forth. (Clearwater Times (BCLocalNews.com), Aug 18, 2008)
- Our games are always changing and are all designed to provide the upmost of fun. (Stourbridge News, Aug 21, 2008)
The substitution of “up” for the opaque “ut” in _utmost_ has been pointed out numerous times.
The Eggcorn Forum poster Russell analyses:
> [The constituent “ut”] is liable to reanalysis to something that more transparently expresses superlative meaning, such as up+most (‘uppermost’), which fits with the MORE IS UP-type metaphor. This may also involve anticipatory assimilation to the nasal in “most”.
A Google search shows very large numbers of hits, from both sides of the Atlantic (and Australia, too). All the above cites are taken from searches restricted to news outlets, and most are very recent, which justifies the “nearly mainstream” classification.