fell » fowl
Spotted in the wild:
- The famous Nick Cohen of the Observer (pro-war apologist) has launched a virile attack against all us good people in one fowl swoop! (Indymedia UK - All mouth and no brains!)
- If you don’t like musicals, then this is for you too, as you can get them all out of the way in one fowl swoop. (Ballet.co 2002 Edinburgh Festival Report)
- This is not to say that Apple’s run perfectly all the time. It just means that they are less prone to lose all of your data in one fowl swoop like with PCs. (Useless Knowledge Mag - Shoulda Bought An Apple)
The new meaning is ‘a chicken swoop’. Chickens are birds. Birds do swoop. I’m sure the intended meaning is still at least ’single’ (as in ‘a single deadly action - Oxford Concise) but I’m not sure that anyone seriously believes fowl are the most appropriate bird to convey this meaning. This must be the hen that laid the eggcorn;)
See also fell»foul.
[CW, 2005/08/29: marked as “questionable”. The substitution certainly involves a semantic reinterpretation, but phonetically, the distance between _fell_ and _fowl_ is rather a stretch.]