Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
The database has the entry for “shoot/chute,” and one of the comments says: ”..I’ve never seen anyone ever confuse “shoot” for “chute.” I find it hard to believe that it’s “nearly mainstream,” ”
I wanted to post suggesting that a search for “laundry shoot” would reveal TONS of eggcorns.
There is a “laundry shoot” product w/ a basketball hoop attached to a laundry bag, but real people, in their Internet posts, are using “laundry shoot” all over the place. I would venture to say that this is the most common misusage of “shoot” for “chute.” If Dan has any doubts about the commonness of this eggcorn, it’s probably because he’s thinking of it on its own, and not as part of the compound noun “laundry chute.”
from a real-estate listing:
Walk-in closet has “laundry shoot” to laundry area.
from a parents’ website:
Install a laundry shoot in the bathroom closet or area that is convenient for everyone to use. If that isn’t possible, designate a place for everyone in the home to put his or her dirty clothes.
http://www.busyparentsonline.com/home/o … undry.html
from a builder’s website, based on a customer’s e-mail
Laundry Shoot (title)
By Raven Silverwolfe (raven) on 5/17/2007 – 9:25 AM
Email This User Directly
We have an older home built in the early 1940’s and it came with a laundry shoot in the main bathroom. I love it! Everyone puts the dirty laundry down the shoot
I haven’t seen it in edited text (the way I have seen “next store” in a newspaper at least twice),.
Well, wait, here’s one:
from an article in the Seattle Times
“Straight ahead at the end of the hall is a sleek, modern table under a painting by a family friend. The sleek, modern table, however, is really the old laundry shoot disguised as sleek, modern table. A drawer pulls out to reveal dirty laundry. ”
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/p … ellar.html
Although there are over 14,000 Google hits for “laundry shoot,” I don’t see that the word “shoot” is taken literally (except as part of a product name)—and is anything more than a misspelling of “chute”. For “laundry shoot” to be an eggcorn, one would have to have an image in mind that relates to “shoot”—in the sense of shooting a projectile. Perhaps I’ve missed something.
On the other hand, I do know of at least one well-argued case where the chute/shoot mixup seems to be an eggcorn…
Crap Chute for Crap Shoot by GregBowden Contribute! 1 2006-10-31 16:07:32 by jorke
Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-19 21:21:21)
You don’t think of the laundry shooting down the chute as a projectile? I think the posters on my forums do. I do. It’s part of what I like about this eggcorn—the image of laundry as bullet, flying rapidly through space, and shooting out at the bottom into a laundry basket.
I agree with Toots – the laundry shoots down the, er, chute. Tellingly, the OED defines chute as “a steep channel or enclosed passage down which ore, coal, grain, or the like is ‘shot’”. And the etymology states “there appears to be a mixture of the F. chute fall (of water, descent of a canal lock, etc.), and Eng. shoot. The former appears to have been adopted in North America, and the application gradually extended to include senses which originate with shoot”.
Although “laundry shoot” is technically an eggcorn, I’m inclined <g> not to class it as an error at all.
“Next store”! I just googled “the man next store” and there they are! Good grief. One for the Malapropism Database, wherever it’s got to. :)
I concede it has the trappings of an eggcorn. I just can’t seem to gather enough contextual clues from the Web sightings to determine what the utterers had in mind. One MW definition of “shoot” is “a place where a stream runs or descend swiftly” [prob. by folk etymology fr. F chute]. This might be the reason our Eggcorn Database lists it as “nearly mainstream.” Even so, I don’t think this is the imagery which applies to the current situation.
The notion of laundry shooting from the chute sure has intuitive appeal, and that might be enough for this to be a bonafide eggcorn. I tried to Google “shoot(s) laundry” to see if anyone provided such imagery for a typical laundry chute but to no avail. Even so, I’m sure if we demonstrated how a laundry chute works to school children and asked them to describe what they see, we would undoubtedly get a description that “it shoots the laundry down…”
So, considering all these arguments, I’d probably give this one the thumbs up on an eggcorn.
Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-20 21:36:52)
My main problem with the Database entry is that I don’t think the “nearly” tag is needed—this is mainstream and well established, particularly, according to the OED, in Britain. Here’s the OED entry for “shoot” (same meaning but a different spelling from that quoted by Dadge earlier in this thread):
6. a. A sloping channel or conduit for letting down coal, ore, wheat, etc. into a lower receptacle.
1844 H. STEPHENS Bk. Farm II. 137 It is always desirable that the frame below should contain a shoot formed of light boarding, that will receive the broken cake from the rollers. 1862 Chamb. Jrnl. Apr. 216 [Mining] The shoots are iron gratings or screens, placed at a considerable incline, and as the coal runs down, the dust falls through on to heaps below. 1869 RANKINE Machine & Hand-tools Pl. P 20, The bullet, now finished, is delivered through a shoot into a wooden box. 1884 SIR R. COUCH in Law. Rep. 9 App. Cases 426 The Westport..made fast to the coalstaiths..with the forehatch under No. 1 shoot. 1899 BARING-GOULD Bk. West II. xviii. 290 Above the door is a shoot for melted lead.
The influence of “chute” might well make this a “historical eggcorn.” But should we have words that are well established, 150 years old and in the major dictionaries in the Database? I’ve often thought we should create a separate page for former eggcorns that are now well respected citizens of the lexicon.
I teach Virginia Woolf’s short story “The Mark on the Wall” most semesters, and my Californian students are always convinced that her use of “shoot” where they would expect “chute” is a typo or error. Nope, she’s just using a perfectly acceptable alternate spelling. Interestingly, she appears to be alive to the etymological origins of the word. Here’s the passage as it appears on page 2083 of the Norton Anthology, 8th edition:
Why, if one wants to compare life to anything, one must liken it to being blown through the Tube at fifty miles an hour—landing at the other end without a single hairpin in one’s hair! Shot out at the feet of God entirely naked! Tumbling head over heels in the asphodel meadows like brown paper parcels pitched down a shoot in the post office!
Last edited by patschwieterman (2007-06-20 22:29:28)
If I understand what Pat said, “laundry shoot” is a completely mainstream usage; a perfectly acceptible alternative to “laundry chute.” So, any alternate imagery assigned to “laundry shoot” would fall into that stealth eggcorn category I coined. It wouldn’t be recognizable as an eggcorn until someone made a grammatical leap and refered to it as a “laundry shooter” or something. (See my previous discussion about “Playing faster and looser.”)
Only one such find:
blog.myspace.com/spankymcbutterpants We have a laundry shooter and S&E love putting clothes down it. M got us a new washer and dryer (our first brand new one!) and he did good. ...
blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=92736818&MyToken=444c60d0-108b-4081-8… – 29k – Supplemental Result – Cached – Similar pages
Well, before the hordes descend on me, let me quibble about “completely mainstream.” “Mainstream” means in long use, used by well-known authors, recognized by the lexical authorities, turning up in lots of registers. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes have a fight on your hands if you use a “mainstream” word in certain settings.
Outside of technical contexts (mining, agriculture, US government reports)—where “shoot” appears to be fairly common —contemporary American usage prefers “chute” by a big margin, and Merriam Webster doesn’t even seem to list the “shoot” spelling for that meaning—at least under “shoot” itself.
On the other side of the Pond, things are different, though “shoot” is clearly still only the runner-up in 21st century British usage. The OED accepts the spelling without comment, and if you can believe books.google.com, it turns up in the work of well-known British and Irish authors like Robert Bridges John Masefield, Padraic Colum, P. G. Wodehouse, Brendan Behan, and Terry Eagleton. (And we’ve already seen Virginia Woolf’s use of it.) The contemporary Australian SF/fantasy author Jack Dann has also used it. (I was using the phrase “down the shoot” to find instances.)
It was much harder to find well-known American authors using that spelling—Bret Harte in the 19th C, and more recently the mystery writers Faye Kellerman and Gary Carmody were all I could find quickly. The spelling has a clear presence in US writing, but it’s not as common here as in Britain.
But the Database isn’t and shouldn’t be a Yank-centric resource (and in fact it’s not based here), and our “mainstream” designations shouldn’t just reflect American usage.
I think the “nearly” is still needed to modify that “mainstream.” Except for a real-estate story, I haven’t found “laundry shoot” in edited text. I’d need to see it more in prpint to believe it as “nearly mainstream.”
I have seen “next store” in two newspaper stories.
And I believe it qualifies for an eggcorn, bcs the three instances I have seen of “next store” DID involve stores.
The small-town resident in question lived in a former retail building, right next to the post office (in the former town-square area of Benton, Iowa, a now nearly defunct community in Ringgold County, in which only the post office retained its original function)
The two newspaper uses were in shopping stories: “And right next store, they sell doughnuts” or something like that.
Last edited by TootsNYC (2007-06-21 16:05:49)