pact » pack

Chiefly in:   make a pack with the devil

Classification: English – final d/t-deletion

Spotted in the wild:

  • “After a twenty year school reunion, a group of partnerless women decide to re-evoke the solidarity of their teenage years and make a pack to procreate—en masse.” (link)
  • “When Matt comes to in his hospital bed, he notices very quickly that although he is without sight, somehow, his other four senses have become very acute, particularly his hearing. He and father make a pack to go the long road, but the pre-Daredevil looses his Dad when Jack refuses to throw a fight.” (link)
  • ” And therefore when they stand in fear of loosing any of those who are occupying their pews; they make a pack with Satan and cease not to bring riling acquisitions against the true men of God and the denial of the gospel of God and its true salvation as it was preached by Peter and the rest of the apostles on the day of Pentecost.” (link)
  • ““You can’t make a packed with the abyss and not path the price!” the devil himself spat back at her.” (link)

I’ve also seen this used as “make a pack’d” or “make a packed”, which is closer in sound to the original “make a pact”.

It appears to be getting more common, but is found generally in forum posts and bulletin boards rather than documents and news reports or similar venues.

| link | entered by ZaraBaxter, 2005/05/13 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Arnold Zwicky , 2005/05/14 at 4:56 pm

    Once again, a less common and more specialized word (”pact”) is replaced by a phonologically related (via deletion of final t, well attested in English casual speech and dialects) word that is more common and has suitable semantics in the context: “pack” as in “pack of wolves”.

  2. 2

    Commentary by SmithersJr , 2005/05/16 at 3:08 pm

    LOL. Two of these quoted examples have misused “loose” in place of “lose”. Does that qualify as an eggcorn??

    … pre-Daredevil looses his Dad …

    … they stand in fear of loosing any of those who are occupying their pews …

  3. 3

    Commentary by Charlie , 2005/05/16 at 5:18 pm

    Since this is the internet, perhaps the usage should be, “…make a packet with the devil”.

  4. 4

    Commentary by Arnold Zwicky , 2005/05/21 at 11:47 pm

    In response to SmithersJr: see the (”not an eggcorn”) entry on “lose” >> “loose”.

  5. 5

    Commentary by Trevor Cohen , 2005/06/09 at 1:11 pm

    Perhaps this doesn’t count because it’s spoken, not written, but you can actually hear a young (as in, so young, he’s probably never heard the word “pact” before) Michael Jackson do this on the Jackson 5 song, “I’ll Be There”: “You and I must make a pack/we must bring salvation back…” running contrary to the published lyrics, where it’s definitely “pact”. You can see his logic, though, what with the unfamiliar word needing to rhyme with “back”.

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