Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
I did not see this in the database. I believe the correct expression is “catercorner”. Some discusion of the origin of the expression can be found here:
Anyone else have any information about this?
Both “kitty-corner” and “catty-corner” are well-established, and are in Merriam-Webster:
http://www.webster.com/cgi-bin/dictiona … tty-corner
“Kitty corner” gets the most ghits (196K), followed laggingly by “catty corner” (52.4K) and “catercorner” (20.1K). In my personal experience, I have rarely if ever heard “catercorner” in speech.
I don’t think this quite qualifies as an eggcorn. It’s interesting that the term has varied first phonologically (cater to catty) and then semantically (catty to kitty). (The latter shift is probably driven by the fact that “kitty” is a far more common word than “catty”.) But there’s no particular logical connection between cats or kittens and diagonal position (I could come up with one, but it would be pretty strained).
I’m with you.
Kitty corner is in the dictionary, but “kiddie corner” is not.
In a local news weekly this week:
http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id= … sue_num=50
“Placed kiddie corner from the oil painting, a large diptych drawing depicts Bobbitt cradling something bloody in some cloths.”
I think in both the cases of cats and kids, they could be thought of as wandering across the street diagonally rather than following the proper crosswalk crossing.
Catercorner is derived from French quatre (four).
I get 880K Ghits on “kiddy corner from” and 87K for “kiddie corner from.”
I like the image of kiddie corner, though the logic escapes me. What would the significance of kiddie be? Do teachers still put kiddies in the corner? Still, makes as much sense as kitty-corner.
My impression is that many posters to this forum have more or less abandoned raw Google hits as being indicative of anything more than faulty algorithms on Google’s part. For example, as you say, “kittie corner from” garners 88,900 raw hits according to Google. If you jump as far as you can down the line of pages, and do that a few times, you’ll generally come to the true number of more legitimate hits. In this case it’s 252 hits. For “kiddy corner from”, after the initial 109,000 quoted, one arrives at page 41 and a more reasonable, though still respectable, value of 397.
David, you may have missed our discussion last year on the way Google sorts out what it presents in response to a search request. Google’s raw hit number is based on an undisclosed Google algorithm for estimating the number of relevant pages-Google does not actually count the pages with the relevant phrase. When Google goes hunting for pages to show you, it selects the pages from a basket that is ordered according to the GoogleRank score. It picks out a thousand pages. When it presents these pages to you, Google sieves them through another algorithm that eliminates potential duplicates. All we can conclude from the 252 examples of pages with “kiddie corner” is that only about a quarter of the high GoogleRanked pages with the phrase are, in Google’s estimation, truly unique. There may in fact be a hundred thousand pages in Google’s database with the phrase “kiddie/kiddy corner.” We will never know, since we are not able to count them and Google is unwilling to count them.
The jury is still out on the validity of the raw frequency numbers produced by Google. We have noted some anomalies in the past. I tend to think the raw numbers have some validity. As I mentioned last month, I did a little exercise to check these numbers. I correlated Google’s raw hit numbers with word frequency lists in English. The Google frequency graph matches the slope in these other word frequency graphs. The compared data sets would pass a rigorous chi-square test for correlation. Anomalies between the graphs can be attributed to the fact that Google’s database differs in major ways from, say, the database used for COCA (e.g., more terms relating to computing and to sexual body parts in Google’s database).
Lately I’ve been checking some of the Google raw hit numbers against the number estimated by Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine. I assume Bing uses its own algorithm to come up with a number, and, of course, it’s applying the number to a different database, which may be larger or smaller than Google’s. Bing and Google, I find, are usually in rough agreement about word/phrase frequencies on the net. “Kiddie corner,” however, does not fit the pattern. Bing and Google differ by at least an order of magnitude.
Comparing Google and Bing on this topic doesn’t mean much, though. The raw numbers are meaningless in the case of “kiddie corner” because the phrase “kiddie/kiddy corner” is a popular trade name and place name. The number of pages in which “kiddie corner” means the same thing that “kitty corner/catercorner” does is slight.
Last edited by kem (2009-09-11 13:39:52)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Here’s a variation (two, actually) that’s new to me:
Directly across from US Post Office, liquor store & caddie corner to newly remodeled Gas Station.
real estate posting
I heard loud music coming from the street *caddie corner*of my house.
The building is caddie corner to Moore Square, offering its residents a campus-like setting in the heart of the city.
real estate posting
The term caddy-corner refers to something that is not across the street but is diagonally across the street from something. What is the origin of this phrase?
Whether spelled “caddie” or “caddy”, this version has no eggcornish meaning connection i can see, so I assume it’s just a misspelling.