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_).

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

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