coif(f)ed » quaffed

Classification: English – not an eggcorn

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Local swing dancers estimate there are between 400 and 600 regular dancers here in the Portland area…..They are Lindy Hoppers, dancing the grungy. pulsating slingshot style and West Coast swingers, who look smooth and quaffed, like old-time movie stars.” (Story by Victoria Blake in the Oregonian, 16 September 2005)
  • “Over 100 fine male erotica photographs of uniquely quaffed punk bearcub type Chuck sporting shaved temples and long redhaired ponytail.” (link)
  • Page 20: “John Marler: With his perfectly quaffed hair…” Hair is coifed; wine is quaffed! (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Gilly Burlingham (E-mail of 20 September 2005)

Spelling errors that turn on homophony, but seem to involve no contribution from semantics, are a dime a dozen, and ordinarily I wouldn’t think of putting them in the eggcorn database. But every so often a really delicious one comes along. I give you “coif(f)ed” >> “quaffed”.

The first cite was provided by Gilly Burlingham. The third is from a letter to the editor of the alternative newspaper Willammette Weekly, in the 3 February 1999 issue, correcting a misspelling in its 20 January story “Pet Peeves of Portland”. (I’m assuming the Oregon connection is entirely accidental.) I can’t see any way to get from drinking liquids to styling hair, so I’ve labeled this one as not an eggcorn.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/09/21 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Adrian Bailey , 2005/09/23 at 11:32 am

    If this spelling (quaffed) became standard all that would happen would be that a foreign spelling would be anglicised. Not necessarily a problem or a bad thing. But… would the noun then be quaffure?? I doubt it. (Though checking, I have found “quaffeur” here:… )

  2. 2

    Commentary by Gdr , 2006/08/07 at 7:31 pm

    Perhaps there’s some influence from “quiff”? (Which the Chambers English Dictionary suggests is also derived from “coif”.)

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