Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

You are not logged in.


Registrations are currently closed because of a technical problem. Please send email to if you wish to register.

The forum administrator reserves the right to request users to plausibly demonstrate that they are real people with an interest in the topic of eggcorns. Otherwise they may be removed with no further justification. Likewise, accounts that have not been used for posting may be removed.

Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2005-10-27 22:58:12

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"viscous circle" for "vicious circle"

This is such low-hanging food that I suspect someone somewhere has already discussed it from an eggcornological perspective. “Vicious circle” was originally a technical term in the field of Logic. The reshaping calls up over 12,000 ghits. Common even in quite learned settings, and it should probably be considered virtually mainstream.

It’s bad enough when you’re caught in an endless loop—but you go nowhere even more slowly when the loop is sticky. Examples:

This paper considers whether the multiple centers of meaning in Petrushevskaia’s postmodern “Passion” constitutes a “great leap” of faith or a viscous circle of meaninglessness.

The low pay is related to the stereotype, and the small number of library schools is related to the small number of people entering the field. It has become a viscous circle.

A viscous circle is started, in which RECOREX is combined with increasingly severe surfactant inactivation that augments the shear forces related to tidal recruitment. … e%22&hl=en

(By the way: 30-odd ghits for “low-hanging food” and 400,000-some for “low-hanging fruit.”)



#2 2005-11-22 15:10:50

Ben Zimmer
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 15

Re: "viscous circle" for "vicious circle"

Paul Brians has talked about this one: <>.

I’d call this more of a malapropism, since I can’t imagine much of a semantic justification for using “viscous circle/cycle,” unless, as Brians says, “you are discussing a Harley-Davidson in dire need of an oil change.”



Board footer

Powered by PunBB
PunBB is © 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson
Individual posters retain the copyright to their posts.

RSS feeds: active topicsall new posts