limb » lurch

Chiefly in:   out on a lurch

Classification: English – not an eggcorn

Spotted in the wild:

  • “There are no legal weapons. There’s nothing left in the arsenal. We’re out on a lurch.” (Ralph Klein, premier of the Canadian province of Alberta. As reported by CBC News, June 30, 2005)

A google on “out on a lurch” results in 35 hits at the time of making this entry. A combination, seemingly, of “left in the lurch” and “out on a limb.”

[Edited by Ben Zimmer and marked “questionable”: because of the lack of phonetic similarity between _limb_ and _lurch_, this is probably better classified as an idiom blend.]

[Edited by Chris Waigl and boldly marked as “not an eggcorn” — idiom blends are interesting and amusing, but a different stroke of fish.]

| link | entered by Pearl, 2005/06/30 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Paul Sorensen , 2006/08/25 at 2:18 pm

    Dr Seuss might be the source of this misunderstanding. In “Oh, the places you’ll go”, you’ll find the following passages next to a picture of a boy hanging from the branch of a tree:

    I’m sorry to say so
    but, sadly, it’s true
    that Bang-ups
    and Hang-ups
    can happen to you

    You can get all hung up
    in a prickle-ly perch.
    and your gang will fly on.
    You’ll be left in a Lurch.

    You’ll come down from the Lurch
    with an unpleasant bump.
    And the chances are, then,
    that you’ll be in a Slump.

    The way Seuss uses the word Lurch, seems to imply it is a physical thing, like a tree (”You’ll come down from the Lurch”). Although this is likely just a fun twist of words for Seuss, children could easily begin to think of a Lurch as a tree. Maybe Ralph Klein had been reading Dr. Seuss just before making his statement.

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