bow » bough
Spotted in the wild:
- “This is, basically, a shot over the bough,” the agent said, “which clearly indicates that the Players Association is onto MLB’s game.” (Jayson Stark's column on espn.com)
- “Warning: I’m firing the first shot over the bough. On behalf of my clients, we’re going to vigorously defend the continuation and preservation of the very …” (link)
- “Let this be a shot over the bough of all bicyclists. We’re watching you and we have cell phones. I’ll go as far as to warn you.” (link)
Analyzed or reported by:
- Robert Coren (Newsgroup soc.motss posting of 20 November 2004)
- Arnold Zwicky (The Fall Eggcorn Crop, on Language Log)
The first cite was supplied by Coren in his soc.motss posting.
Nautical expressions, like “(fire) a shot over the bow”, tend to be reshaped by the non-nautical, who will replace a mystifying specifically nautical term by a more familiar homophone, “bough” in this case.