bare » bear

Chiefly in:   bear-faced lie , bear-knuckled , bear-handed fight , bearbacking

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • I’ve always found that part of the NASA Uber Alles crowd to be very troublesome, thinking that, gosh, it is all sweetness and light down there at JSC, when it’s a bear-knuckled bureaucracy like anything else. (link)
  • Now remember people, the opinions expressed above by the beer columnist do not necessarily reflect those of yours truly. In fact, we often disagree on many subjects, leading to a full on, stripped to the waist, bear-knuckled, single-takedown grudge match. (link)
  • Huber and his supporters were somewhat less comfortable engaging in a bear-knuckled internal political struggle for power than Peters’ adherents. (link)
  • More importantly, my web site (now with over 60,000 visits) has always published my work and conclusions, which you now accuse me of plagiarizing from you ~ which is an absolute bear faced lie. (link)
  • Mr. Burton’s comments don’t suprise me concerning the use of taxes collected from Hotel and Motel operator’s to fund the PDR program. What does suprise me is his statement that if these dollars were not used for PDR purchases that the County tax rate could not be reduced by using these funds to support tourist programs currently being funded out of the County general fund. Shame on you Mr. Burton that is a bear faced lie. (link)
  • Egyptians fought bear-handed against the Arabic swords and were massacred on the streets and inside the churches. (Wikipedia)
  • Due to the state’s opposition to the disorder caused by these popular pastimes, by 1600 the bridge fights in Venice ceased to use sticks and became unarmed brawls called guerre di pugni or “war of the fists”. As with the stick wars, these bear-handed sporting brawls could attract thousands of fighters and tens of thousands of spectators. (link)
  • I can’t think of anyone who would get tested before having sex except dumb people considering bearbacking. Everyone else on the planet would practice safe sex. (soc.motss, Aug 10, 2005)
  • Porn star, publisher bear claws in lawsuits (NY Daily News, headline, April 13, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

The substitution of the homophone _bear_ for _bare_ is a very productive source of erroneous spellings. Not all of these will be eggcorns: many may be glitches produced during a moment of distraction.

In the examples above, an underlying concept of bears coming into the semantic mix is, however, likely. A bare-faced lie is certainly particularly ugly or abhorrent, and a fighter with bear knuckles more dangerous than one without. It is also interesting that _bear-handed_ is nearly always found in the context of fighting, rather then in the sense of empty-handed.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/13 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Ben Zimmer , 2005/04/14 at 4:22 am

    Headline from the New York Daily News (Apr. 13, 2005): “Porn star, publisher bear claws in lawsuits.” (Noted on Fishbowl NY.)

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