Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
In proofreading some documentation at an advertising agency, I came across the term “bleeding edge,” which is how a client wants his customers to perceive themselves when they use his product.
I’m assuming he meant “leading edge.”
Is this an eggcorn? Has anyone else heard of or seen this one before?
Welcome, xplodyncow! I think this is kind of an iron pyrite(fools gold) of eggcorn because, if it were fashioned from a misunderstanding of “leading edge”, complete with the “cutting,bleeding” replacement imagery…it would be an eggcorn. But, what I think we’re dealing with here is a purposeful play on words and imagery to create a new concept. When I googled it I found this:
Bleeding edge is a term that refers to technology that is so new (and thus, presumably, not perfected) that the user is required to risk reductions in stability and productivity in order to use it. It also refers to the tendency of the latest technology to be extremely expensive.The term is formed as an allusion to “leading edge” and its synonym cutting edge.
It further states:
Recently however, the term bleeding edge has been increasingly used by the general public to mean “ahead of cutting edge” largely without the negative, risk-associated connotation.
This second sense is how I’ve understood it. Kind of the “edge of the cutting edge”, you know, where the blood is being let. Frankly, I’ve never heard it in the context of the first definition, so hopefully Wiki knows what they’re talking about. If it’s true, then yes, some imagery transfer may be occuring with the original playful idiom hybrid. But, I still don’t think it qualifies it as an eggcorn.
Please don’t let any of this make you stop from any other submissions….that’s what the forum’s for. Sometimes it’s more fun to discuss what doesn’t make something an eggcorn than what does!
I, on the other hand, have ONLY heard it in the first meaning. So far ahead of the leading edge that it hurts. That it drains away the lifeblood, or causes damage.
For example, buying the alpha version of software is being on the “bleeding edge.” You’ll “bleed” time and trouble, bcs you’ll have to deal w/ all the unfound bugs, etc. So the wise software buyer won’t buy until the beta version comes out, or even later.
(I’ve never heard it to mean “out where the blood is being let”—I’ve only heard it to mean risky, costly)
But it might get eggcorn status if people start thinking it means the old “leading edge” / “cutting edge” idea.
We had a discussion of “bleeding edge”on the forum about a year and a half ago: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/view … hp?pid=868
One of the things we talked about there was the imagery involved. The Wikipedia article seems to envision two edges:
The term is formed as an allusion to “leading edge” and its synonym cutting edge, but implying a greater degree of risk: the “bleeding edge” is in front of the “cutting edge”.
I think they’re basically right about what the phrase means for people: the idea of bodily harm certainly implies risk. But this is one of those idioms that seem odder the longer you think about them: the bleeding edge here somehow precedes the cutting edge.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-01-04 18:52:29)