acorn » eggcorn

Variant(s):  egg-corn, egg corn

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Even a blind squirrel will find an eggcorn once in a while. (link)
  • Also I have oak trees in my pasture. My vet said my horses would be ok because they shouldn’t eat the eggcorns. (link)
  • Motifs: Eggcorns and leafs (Washington County 2003 Tombstone Project, (with image))
  • Are your trains on your out door railroad always derailing because of debris like leaves and egg corns on the track? (link)
  • A vomit pile was also found which looked like it may have contained deer skin with hair attached , egg corns not well chewed. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Eggcorn_, at first _egg corn_, is the original eggcorn. This misspelling for _acorn_ was first [reported](…) by Mark Liberman at [Language Log](…), citing a discovery by Chris Potts, on September 23, 2003. Geoffrey Pullum [suggested](…) the term _eggcorn_ to refer to this particular kind of spontaneous malapropism.

The word _acorn_ itself may have undergone the same reshaping process, ie once have been an eggcorn. See the [American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition, 2000](…):

> **ETYMOLOGY:** Middle English akorn, from Old English æcern.
> **WORD HISTORY:** A thoughtful glance at the word acorn might produce the surmise that it is made up of oak and corn, especially if we think of corn in its sense of “a kernel or seed of a plant,” as in peppercorn. The fact that others thought the word was so constituted partly accounts for the present form acorn. Here we see the workings of the process of linguistic change known as folk etymology, an alteration in form of a word or phrase so that it resembles a more familiar term mistakenly regarded as analogous. Acorn actually goes back to Old English æcern, “acorn,” which in turn goes back to the Indo-European root *g–, meaning “fruit, berry.”

This was reported by Daniel Ezra Johnson and [documented](…) by Mark Liberman.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2004/12/04 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by astarte93 , 2005/03/10 at 4:47 am

    “Sort of speak.” or, “Sorta speak.”

    In place of “So to speak.”

  2. 2

    Commentary by Joel , 2005/12/14 at 4:34 pm

    And Piglet calls them “haycorns”. What’s up with that?

    Quote: “I’m planting a haycorn, Pooh, so that it can grow up into an oak-tree”

  3. 3

    Commentary by Mr Cat , 2006/01/22 at 10:34 pm

    Piglet says haycorn as he pronounces the ‘a’ like ‘hay’, thus Mr AA wrote it that way. Great writing comes with a free creative licence.

  4. 4

    Commentary by Mr C , 2006/03/31 at 10:08 pm

    Is there any connection between acorn and eekhoorn (dutch for squirrel)?

  5. 5

    Commentary by Sk Anglitsky Lektor , 2006/07/26 at 4:56 pm

    I am an English teacher in Slovakia. I was raised in the southern part of the United States. I grew up hearing ‘eggcorns’. When teaching idioms and some origins of them I sometimes find it difficult to explain that people sometimes repeat what their ‘heard’ version of a phrase etc. is without clearly understanding or clearly and obviously knowing what was actually spoken.
    In short, I am enjoying reading the entries of this site and hope it continues as I find it to be easy and humorous to read.
    Dakjueme velmi pekny


  6. 6

    Commentary by James H Weidner , 2006/08/03 at 8:55 pm

    Does “next store” instead of “next door” qualify?

  7. 7

    Commentary by Frank ess , 2006/08/10 at 1:52 am

    I was told by a Southern Gentleman that he once held a job as a “hog-poler”: when the hogs had eaten all the acorns—he pronounced it “ACHE-earns”—his task was to stick a pole up the hog’s butt and raise him up so he could feast on the ones left on the trees.

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