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#1 2008-02-22 10:53:33

wayner
Member
Registered: 2008-01-10
Posts: 4

Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Google:

Tarnished with the same brush (~2,600 hits)
Tarred with the same brush (~71,600 hits)

I heard this one spoken on the radio the other day. Some high-profile hits:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4399085.stm
“Employment agencies say they worry about being “tarnished with the same brush” as rogue gangmasters as a new watchdog is launched.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/09/14 … mfriendly/
“In short, if someone makes a duff PalmOS-based PDA, Palm gets tarnished with the same brush.”

Financial Management in the Voluntary Sector: New Challenges – Google Books Resultby Paul Palmer, Adrian Randall – 2002 – Business & Economics – 320 pages
... with perhaps the voluntary agencies all unfairly being ‘tarnished’ with the same brush of the latter and seen as being outdated and reactionary. ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0415221595…

America in White, Black, and Gray: The Stormy 1960s – Google Books Resultby Klaus P. Fischer – 2006 – History – 452 pages
... his widely used book The Paranoid Style in American Politics, in which the whole political right is tarnished with the same brush of paranoia, bigotry, ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0826418163…

A Positive Approach to Autism – Google Books Resultby Stella Waterhouse – 1999 – Psychology – 382 pages
It is sad, though, that a number of them feel that all of’us’ are tarnished with the same brush. ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=1853028088…

The American Ideology: A Critique – Google Books Resultby Andrew Levine – 2004 – Political Science – 167 pages
... Because it shares Rousseau’s aim of reaching a genuine consensus on ends, deliberative democracy is tarnished with the same brush. On the other hand, ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=041594550X…

Last edited by wayner (2008-02-22 19:45:01)

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#2 2008-02-23 11:03:22

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1456

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

I like it. “Tarred with the same brush” is an in-the-language construction, so one could argue that any close-sounding departures of it might be eggcorns.

What is particularly compelling about it is the flawed notion of tarnishing something with a brush. (Things don’t normally get tarnished that way, do they?). I find that imperfect imagery—or imagery that involves a stretch of the imagination—is often the domain of eggcorns. So, I got a good chuckle out of this one.

I guess I would also add that the utters probably prefer the connotations of “tarnished” over “tarred.” (The rest of the expression just got carried along because it’s a familiar construction). To me, “tarnished” seems to have a more insidious origin—one of natural consequence. And “tarred” conjures a messier, mudslinging feel to it. But that’s only my interpretation. Perhaps someone could comment on the precise imagery intended with expression “tarred with the same brush.”

Last edited by jorkel (2008-02-23 11:22:13)

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#3 2008-02-25 13:21:29

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

except that, to tarnish is to oxidize.

You can apply a brush-on coating to metal that speeds up the oxidizing process, creating an artificially rapidly induced patina. Particularly lovely on copper.

This was very popular in the early 1990s as a decorating/craft technique; I bought a “patinization” kit from Pottery Barn (and sputtered about the loss of the word “patinated” for “patinized’).

And people have long brushed on a patinizing formula on copper roofs to speed up the transition to the patinated green color.

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#4 2008-02-25 13:48:34

wayner
Member
Registered: 2008-01-10
Posts: 4

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

I would argue that the verb “to tarnish” is inherently passive—one does not actively tarnish something, rather something tarnishes all by itself over time, even when the effect is desired and induced. Moreover the phrase “tarred with the same brush” specifically pertains to persons and their actions, not to inanimate objects, and one wouldn’t—couldn’t—tarnish a person, with a brush or otherwise.

There’s another interesting take on the idiom here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tar1.htm

Last edited by wayner (2008-02-25 13:52:15)

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#5 2008-02-26 13:18:30

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

wayner wrote:

I would argue that the verb “to tarnish” is inherently passive—one does not actively tarnish something, rather something tarnishes all by itself over time

While the notion of metal or other materials oxidizing is “logically intransitive” (by which I think I mean the same thing as wayner’s “inherently passive”—that is, it does not immediately call to mind an agent), “tarnish” is quite commonly used figuratively to mean something like “disgrace, damage in reputation.”

This figurative sense is not “logically intransitive” or “inherently passive”, as evidenced by the common tendency for the word to occur in actual passive constructions with a by-phrase indicating the agent.

A search of Google News for the phrase “tarnished by” reveals 662 raw hits/292 unique hits in the past month (between 26 January and 26 February 2008). Nearly all of these that I have looked at usee the figurative “disgrace” sense.

FEMA’s Image Still Tarnished by Katrina
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co … 02589.html

Hip Hop Congress Event Tarnished by Violence
http://www.thuglifearmy.com/news/?id=4185

“I cannot understand how the repute of the administration of justice is not seriously tarnished by blatantly illegal police conduct.”
http://www.edmontonsun.com/Comment/2008 … 4-sun.html

Top Austrian managers’ image is badly tarnished
“top managers’ image had been badly tarnished by the recent tax-evasion scandal in Germany and money-laundering scandals”
http://www.wienerzeitung.at/DesktopDefa … cob=329721

There are, by the way, an additional 125 (108 unique) Google News articles containing the active voice “tarnishes”, again almost exclusively figurative.

“She called Ritter’s executive order a ‘balanced package’ between workers and employers and said the no-strike bill tarnishes it with ‘anti-worker sentiment.’”
http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_8125000

Mayweather Further Tarnishes His Image With Proposed Wrestling Match
http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=14573&more=1

It is probably this figurative tarnish that is applied with a figurative brush. That is, just as “tarred with the same brush” may indicated multiple people accused of the same/similar failings, those “tarnished with the same brush” are disgraced for those similar failings.

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#6 2008-02-27 13:33:56

TootsNYC
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-06-19
Posts: 263

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

also, remember that we are talking eggcorns, not strictly exact and proper usage.

Eggcorns are created by people’s associations—not by their knowledge of exactly how terms are traditionally used. Someone who even understands the IDEA of transitive or intransitive verbs will probably not be making many eggcorns.

If people have a vision of stuff rusting, or tarnishing, or oxidizing, and they can connect it with something that is brushed on, then they might make this leap.

I think nilep is right, though—that the “tarnished reputation” is much more likely to have fueled this eggcorn.

Last edited by TootsNYC (2008-02-27 13:36:40)

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#7 2019-03-03 19:21:20

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1370

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

I recently encountered this variation:

This is painting France with an extremely long brush, but too many high-profile French actresses responded to the MeToo uprising with haughty disdain for me not to notice it.
discussion

It seems clear that this was influenced by something like “tarnishing (or tarring) France with an overly-broad brush”. I think the metaphor is distorted beyond any plausible meaning connection by the substitution of “long”.

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#8 2019-08-08 07:24:44

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2351
Website

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Is painting someone with a long brush like using a long spoon when you sup with the Devil? (Trying to avoid direct contact, maintaining enough distance to quarantine, either because those you are painting are evil or disgusting, or because if you get too close you are liable to get spattered by your own paint/tar?)
.
I can also get it to work in my mind as painting inaccurately/sloppily because painting from a distance. This fits the context (blaming France as a whole because of the attitudes of a few French actresses), as of course the broad brush connection does as well or better.


*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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#9 2019-08-08 16:58:13

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1635

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

David, you have a impressive stock of debble lore. I hark back to the bit about Ol’ Stretch-Legs, whom I couldn’t turn up in the catacombs.

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#10 2019-08-09 08:55:12

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2351
Website

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Ol’ Stretch-Leg is Death, not quite the Debble. (Thank Gosh for that!)


(Wasn’t in the catacombs? You must’ve looked at my Scarecrow Nouns or Abrelatas paper. I am flattered! It was in a family of forms I found in the OED built on the Scarecrow pattern but with the verb stretch :

Some verbs, for instance, such as add , do not have any [Scarecrow-noun] forms [in the OED] constructed using them; others may have many. Stretch , for instance, has stretch-gut “glutton”, stretch-halter or stretch-hemp “gallows bird, one who deserves to be hung”, stretch-leg “that which lays prostrate, Death”, stretch-neck “pillory”, and stretch-rope “bell-ringer”. Often a number of forms wind up with very similar meanings: besides the still occasionally used clutch-fist, pinch-penny , and skin-flint , there were many other forms meaning “miser”, including (for nip alone) nip-cake, nip-crumb, nip-cheese , and nip-farthing . A similarly large number meant “criminal”: of these cut-purse, cut-throat, pick-pocket, turn-coat , and, in their social sphere, kill-joy, spoil-sport , and tattle-tale survive, while many other picturesque terms such as stretch-hemp (above) and thatch-gallows have been lost. Among the many forms constructed on lack (e.g. lack-land “younger son”, lack-beard “immature youth”, lack-all “deficient person”), there were at least seven forms meaning “intellectually deficient person”: lack-brain, lack-latin, lack-learning, lack-mind, lack-sense, lack-thought , and lack-wit .

Isn’t English the most wonderful language?)
.
PS I found it after all, well-encombed, in your thread about the death-kneel

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-08-09 09:01:29)


*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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#11 2019-08-27 10:06:05

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2719

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Anu Garg has been calling these scarecrow terms “tosspots.” See https://wordsmith.org/words/shunpike.html

The name “tosspot” may have been coined by Gregory Harris: http://wordsmith.org/awad/awadmail592.html

The key to a tosspot word is that it is a compound made from a verb modifying a noun, where the noun is the object of the verb.

What David T’s post highlights is that good tosspot/scarecrow words are usually generated from a small subset of verbs-favored verbs are ones such as “nip,” “clutch,” “pinch,” and “stretch” that refer to concrete bodily actions. “Scarecrow” and “lackland” would be exceptions to this.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#12 2019-08-27 12:55:41

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2351
Website

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Concrete bodily actions as meanings make for prototypical verbs in all kinds of constructions. A cross-cutting motivation here is the habit of using these words as insults, a function that they seem to suit admirably. Deficiency is such good grounds for ridicule that you might explain the lack-N forms (of which there were more, as I remember, than those I listed) on that basis.
.
There are plenty of other forms where the verb does not clearly denote a concrete bodily action, of course, including turn (coat) (does a turncoat turn his coat as a snowshoe hare does, or how?), thatch (gallows) (note that the designated person is the thatch, not the thatcher), spoil (sport), and tattle (tale) from the sample above. Even the stretching that a stretchgut or stretchhemp does are not exactly bodily actions in the typical sense.
.
You say, Kem, “The key to a tosspot word is that it is a compound made from a verb modifying a noun, where the noun is the object of the verb.” I am not sure what “modify” means in this context: I would have said the verb is followed by the noun, but neither is clearly a modifier of the other, just as neither is head of the construction so as to be modified by the other. Surely another criterion would be that the designatum (or exocentric head) of the whole is the subject of the verb, and not the object. Otherwise forms like push-pin (where the designatum/head is the object) or lack-luster (where the designatum is the adjectival quality of tending to do the verb w.r.t. the object) and various other related types will be included in the category. That grouping is also of course interesting, but probably not as useful as limiting the definition to V + Obj = Subj forms, as most people seem to do in practice.
.
A thing I find fascinating is comparing the construction to the similar (and undoubtedly at least partially cognate) Spanish construction, which is quite productive still (the English one is mostly limited to new Verb + all forms.) The patterns coincide in particular forms (as e.g. in scarecrow and espantapájaros ) far less often than one might have supposed, and they differ in interesting ways. For instance, the Spanish pattern prefers plural nouns ―the pájaros are plural even when the scarecrow is one: why don’t we call it a scares-crows?―, and it is highly productive for naming tools, whereas the English one is (or was) not typically used for that.
.
(Re Anu Garg’s column that Kem linked to: does a flapjack flap a jack? Why is that word in the list?)

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-08-28 01:34:51)


*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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#13 2019-08-27 16:06:32

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1370

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

kem wrote:

The key to a tosspot word is that it is a compound made from a verb modifying a noun, where the noun is the object of the verb.

I assume that “tosspot” refers to tossing something into a pot, rather than tossing a pot, just as “grab bag” refers to grabbing something from a bag, rather than grabbing the bag itself. If I’m right, the word “tosspot” itself doesn’t fit your description, Kem, as “pot” is not the object of “toss”.

DavidTuggy wrote:

You say, Kem, “The key to a tosspot word is that it is a compound made from a verb modifying a noun, where the noun is the object of the verb.” I am not sure what “modify” means in this context: I would have said the verb is followed by the noun, but neither is clearly a modifier of the other, just as neither is head of the construction so as to be modified by the other.

It seems to me that “tosspot” tells us what kind of pot it is (a pot into which we toss things), just as “big pot” or “black pot” does. The first word in the phrase (or in the compound word) describes (modifies) the second. Thus, in these terms we’re discussing, verbs function as adjectives. If, David, you’re suggesting that that makes no more sense than to say “pot” modifies “toss” (What kind of a toss? A toss toward a pot!), I’d argue that, in English usage at least, that’s less plausible than the verb’s modifying the noun.

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#14 2019-08-27 19:49:02

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2351
Website

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

No, a tosspot is a tippler; he tosses his head, with the pot, back, to let the good stuff flow down his throat. So, yes, the pot gets tossed by the tosspot, just like a crow ideally gets scared by a scarecrow, or your fast gets broken by your breakfast, or the gallows (ought to) get thatched by a thatchgallows. (The word’s been around since Shakespeare, though it’s not a common one.)
.
Toss is not there to tell us (and not telling us much) about what kind of pot we are dealing with, nor is pot there to tell us (nor telling us much) about what kind of tossing is in mind. The combination of the two is telling us what the subject (the designatum of the word, the tosspot him or perhaps her-self) does, and thus it describes (modifies?) him or her. You might think of it as a miniature headless relative clause: “[one] (that) tosses a pot”.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-08-28 13:42:50)


*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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#15 2019-08-28 06:03:09

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1370

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Ooooops, I guess I should have looked up tosspot before writing my last comment. I’m tempted to just erase that comment—but then that’d make David’s response look like it’s hanging from nothing.

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#16 2019-09-22 14:31:07

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2719

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

I was using the word “modify” in its nontechnical sense. Shouldn’t have done that around a crowd of language people. My bad.

Flap means “to fold roughly.” “Jack,” I assume, is the generic male, as in “every man Jack” and “lumberjack.” “Flapjack” was used in England for a fried fruit tart (perhaps is still?) long before it was adapted to the farinaceous compound that North Americans eat for breakfast.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#17 2019-09-22 14:49:08

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1370

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

kem wrote:

Flap means “to fold roughly.” “Jack,” I assume, is the generic male, as in “every man Jack” and “lumberjack.”

So then, “flapjack” originally meant “a roughly folded man”?

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#18 2019-09-22 16:56:07

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2719

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

Jack may have some colloquial connections to apples. Applejack?


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#19 2019-09-22 19:10:34

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2351
Website

Re: Tarnished with the same brush (Tarred...)

I would have guessed more like your first suggestion, kem, but maybe with the modern English guy as a closer semantic equivalent. Some people in my circles (more women than men?) use guy for thing or gizmo, saying e.g. “This little guy [holding up a fancy corkscrew] will pop it open in no time.” Thus a flapjack could be the thing that flaps, or gets flapped, applejack would be the stuff made of apples, a crackerjack would be a gizmo or guy that could crack any safe (or maybe that creates excitement like a firecracker?), a lumberjack would be the guy that works with lumber, a jack-of-all-trades can do any kind of work needed, and so forth. Does that make sense? A jack alone, is, of course, the gizmo that you use to lift something heavy.
.
In all of these, if this analysis is correct, the jack is the head, the thing that is named by the compound as a whole. This is unlike the scarecrow/tosspot pattern, where it is the unmentioned subject that is named by the compound as a whole. The flapjack is not the cook, just like a pushpin is not the guy (jack?) with the thumb.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-09-24 21:29:33)


*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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