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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2007-02-23 19:31:00

fishbait1
Eggcornista
From: Cambridge MA
Registered: 2006-09-13
Posts: 54
Website

"right off the back" for "right off the bat"

From a consumer complaint forum:

“He was completely rude to me right off the back when I informed him I was thinking about opening a SEARS card.”

I’ve posted this as a new topic because it is not the same idiom as “off his own bat,” where the same substitution has been remarked in the Forum. Googling “right off the back” is of little use, since it’s a normal phrase in many contexts. I did find one other example of the substitution in the first 30 or say exemplars, so it must be fairly common.

But now I’m wondering—where did “right off the bat” come from, anyway, in the sense “from the very beginning”? Maybe I’m missing something, but it doesn’t make lots of sense to me as a baseball metaphor. But then “off his own bat” was completely new to me too.

David

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#2 2018-12-27 12:43:39

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2294
Website

Re: "right off the back" for "right off the bat"

Just ran across this one again. A particularly interesting variation of it has a prepositional phrase explaining what the back is of:

The new version, launched right off the back of the new Polo, is based on the fifth-generation Polo, has been enhanced

We only did nine shows, then I took two months off and I didn’t do this big huge tour right off the back of Woman.

Right off the back of their collaborations with Devil May Cry, Mega Man 11, and Final Fantasy XIV, there’s one more collaboration event being …

Coming right off the back of Game of the Year deliberations 2018, I was glad for an escape into a game where I didn’t have to criticize

Preparations for the 2019 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship got underway in earnest earlier this week, right off the back of the 2018 season

There is a pervasive metaphor in English that as events come towards us (or we move through time towards them) they are facing us. (Thus we face the future, and they face the past, which is in back of us.) They do not change that orientation after they pass by us (or we pass by them.) So, what is “before” an event is “in front of” it, and what is “after” it is “in back of” it or “behind” it. (“Before” and “after” are bleached out enough that we do not usually think of their grounding in this metaphor, but that is where they come from.)
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When something happens “right off the back” (even when there is no prepositional phrase following), you can construe it as occurring immediately after some previous event. I.e., Event 1 goes by (facing you, as is normal), and right off the back (of it) comes Event 2.
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I’ve convinced myself at least: it’s a plausible eggcorn.
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(See also )

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-01-03 15:07:16)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#3 2018-12-28 12:24:20

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1616

Re: "right off the back" for "right off the bat"

These are odd. Some are clearly eggcorns of “right off the bat”, but not all. I can’t help feeling that there is some blending, in my mind at least, with successes which come on the back of another recent success, i.e. on the strength of. Where true, that might make them eggcorns dependent on the different senses of back. On the back of, miss-poken.

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#4 2018-12-28 17:13:06

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2294
Website

Re: "right off the back" for "right off the bat"

I like, miss-poken, Tocayo. Do you have a creative way to incorporate the notion of having been poked? Maybe an awkward introduction of ideas or speech into a situation or discourse counts as poking them in, in an ill or erroneous manner? Do you suppose anybody really thinks of it that way? Do they ever miss-poke when they should be miss-peaking (or peeking or whatever)?
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You may well be right, in some cases (i.e. in some perps’ minds) about the notion of support or strength involved in back . I don’t see the change from the support coming from being on the back as a big problem: the support naturally diminishes when the supporting event is over and you drop off the back as that happens. Right off the back would presumably be in that transition period.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2018-12-29 16:27:20)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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