figment » pigment

Chiefly in:   a pigment of so.'s imagination

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • I hadn’t realised the comic strips in the funny pages were so deep. I thought Hobbes was just a pigment of Calvin’s imagination. (link)
  • Soul mates a pigment of the hyperactive imagination? (link)
  • Darfur is not a pigment of a hedonists imagination-it exists and the worst affected are the children-the girls who regardless of age have been raped on countless occasions since the fighting began,the boys who have been forced to become soldiers and murderers,the babies that have died due to starvation. (link)
  • This is all just a pigment of anyone’s imagination. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

A pigment is a small particle of paint that could be construed as something that colors one’s imagination.

This eggcorn was pointed out to me by Michel Valdrighi.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/09/11 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Robin Stocks , 2005/09/16 at 2:28 am

    I do wonder how many of these supposed eggcorns are intentional/jocular - like with this one, there’s always some bore who’ll come out with something like “pigment of your imagination”, “figleaf of your imagination” or “figleaf of your invagination”.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Chris Waigl , 2005/09/16 at 2:37 am

    @Robin Stocks:
    Nearly every eggcorn can be used punningly, and many, many are.But just from person A using word play it doesn’t follow that person B can’t believe the reshaping to be the “real”, “original” expression.

    We do our best to look carefully at the context of each cite to determine if the use is likely to be jocular. In some cases, potential eggcorns are thrown out because none of the examples we can find looks genuine (I did this today for lactose»lack toes: of the handful of search engine hits all but one were clearly jokes, and the last one looked dubious to me — a situation quite unlike the lactose»lack toast case.)

  3. 3

    Commentary by kwicker , 2006/01/19 at 10:44 pm

    Over the course of living together for a year, the guys on my freshman dorm developed several “substitute” words, usually as a memorial to sombody’s slip of the tongue. I recall that, instead of “figment of the imagination,” we would always refer to a “Piglet of the imagination,” with the tacit understanding that the Pooh character was somehow evoked. (We also substituted “symmetricity” for “symmetry,” in honor of one guy’s bewildered attempt to parse out the noun from the adjective.)

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