prix-fixe » pre-fix

Chiefly in:   pre-fix menu

Variant(s):  prefix, pre-fixe, prefixe, pre-fixed, prefixed

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Dinner : $20 Weekly Pre-Fixe.” (

A cross-language eggcorn, first brought to my attention by David Fenton in soc.motss (on 28 August 2004), who recalled the “pre-fix menu” he encountered at a D.C. restaurant a few years ago. Well, the cost is fixed ahead of time, right? Slightly Frenchier is “pre-fixe”, as in the example above. I reported these sightings in Postcards from Eggcornea on Language Log.

Here in Palo Alto, the University South News (written by Elaine Meyer) noted on 11 February 2005:

About Language. The advertisement for a prefix dinner is back! But it has improved: it is now a pre-fixe dinner. Optimists that we are, we celebrate progress, no matter how modest.


Rationalizing the modifier as a participle (or, possibly, “restoring” the deleted past participle suffix) then gives us “prefixed”. Ed Keer reported wryly to ADS-L on 17 December 2004: “On my lunch walk today I passed a restaurant advertising “prefixed menu.” I don’t know what they have against bare roots.”

[Jeanette Winterson writes:

In New York I passed a Vietnamese restaurant with a board offering a Pre Fix Menu. I went inside to ask about this, and was told what you’d expect about the food prices, so I asked why they called it a Pre Fix. “Yeah,” said the guy, “we fix the Specials of the Day every morning, but before we fix those, we fix the set menu of the day, so that’s why it’s called a Pre Fix.” So now you know.


| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/03/16 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Peter Wells , 2005/03/20 at 10:02 am

    Surely, this pre-fixe was meant to be prix-fixe? The pronunciation is the same,

  2. 2

    Commentary by Arnold Zwicky , 2005/03/20 at 5:38 pm

    In response to Peter Wells’s comment: “prix-fixe” is in fact in the header for this entry, as the original expression. And many eggcorns are homophonous with their originals — but the spelling lets you see that a reanalysis has taken place. In case this wasn’t clear in the entry, (some) people are interpreting the first element of “prix-fixe” as the prefix “pre-” ‘before’.

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