gall » gaul
Spotted in the wild:
- “You lie whenever you feel like it, try to impersonate others, try to assassinate the character of truly stellar human beings like [NN] and [NN] and then have the gaul to accuse others of your behavior.” (link)
- “Next, there are some who assume because I, again, have the “unmitigated gaul” to ask “Why?” that I’m out to get them.” (link)
- “And they have the gaul to yell for Rove’s head? I am looking forward to the day when they frog march Durbin to Jail for this one!” (link)
- “I also had the joy of a particularly fat little Czech rider landing on top of me, he then had the Gaul to shout at me, …” (link)
- “How STUPID is it to look at the hundreds of awards [Michael Jackson] has won of a span of 30 years […] and **have the omnitigated gaul** to call him the “self-proclaimed, professed, or styled” King Of Pop?” (link)
Analyzed or reported by:
- David Fenton (Usenet newsgroup soc.motss, 1 September 2005)
Most modern speakers use “gall” only in the idiom “have the (unmitigated) gall” and closely related expressions, in which the word “gall” is entirely opaque. Substituting “gaul” improves things some, presumably via an allusion to the fabled haughtiness and impoliteness of the French. The French connection is especially clear in the examples with capitalized “Gaul”.
Googling on “unmitigated gaul” yields a fair number of legitimate examples, plus lots of entertaining deliberate plays on words. There are hundreds of apparently legitimate web occurrences of “have the gaul” and “had the gaul”.
I hadn’t come across this one until David Fenton pointed it out on soc.motss, and it doesn’t seem to be in the standard compendia of errors. But now Elizabeth Zwicky tells me that she encounters it on mailing lists fairly often. The cite with “unmitigated” reshaped to “omnitigated” was unearthed by Chris Waigl.
[Later the same day: Fenton has now noted a huge number of occurrences of “gaul/Gaul bladder” for “gall bladder”. For instance:
Comments. gaul bladder polyps. … I HAVE MANY LARGE POLYPS IN MY GAUL BLADDER. ONE SURGEON
SAID THAT IF I DO NOT TAKE OUT MY GAUL BLADDER, I WILL GET CANCER. … (link)
Simple spelling error, with a modestly common word replacing a really uncommon word? Or is there some imputation of Frenchness? Only one legitimate-looking occurrence of “wormwood and gaul”, but then few people these days know the biblical expression.]