samblind » sand-blind
Spotted in the wild:
- Lippio, to be poreblynde, or sande blynde. (Sir Thomas Elyot, Latin-English dictionary, 1538)
- This is my true begotten Father, who being more then sand-blinde, high grauel blinde, knows me not. (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596)
- Sand-blind - Having a defect in the eyes, by which small particles appear to fly before them. (Samuel Johnson, Dictionary, 1755)
- He is bald, sand blind, grey-haired. (Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849)
Analyzed or reported by:
- Stephen Ullmann (Semantics: An Introduction to the Science of Meaning. Oxford: Blackwell, 1962)
All examples quoted here are from the OED; I first learned of this eggcorn from Ullmann (1962).
In the original samblind, the sam- is cognate with semi-; the original meaning is ‘purblind’, as Elyot indicates. The reanalysis of sam- as sand has not only altered the form of the word, but has influenced its interpretation as well, as exemplified by Shakespeare’s sand/gravel pun and by Johnson’s “small particles” definition.
The original samblind is long gone, and even the new form is labelled “arch., poet., and dial.” by the OED.