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Chris -- 2015-05-30

#1 2008-04-04 00:55:42

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

“Heathenism” and “hedonism” are often conflated in the popular imagination. I was reminded of this while watching the new Beowulf movie the other night. It opens with a scene of wild, mead-soaked debauchery among the pagan Danes of King Hrothgar’s hall while the one Christian present (the king’s right-hand man Unferth) looks on disapprovingly.

In many of the citations of “heathenistic” below, it’s not clear that the word is anything more than a syllable-heavy synonym for “heathen.” Nevertheless, since neither the OED nor MW has an entry for “heathenistic,” it seems pretty clear that “hedonistic” is exerting some influence here. And in my final entries below – where “heathenistic” is coupled with “pleasure” – the eggcornish possiblities are more obvious.

“Heathenistic” gets a whopping 8000+ raw hits. Most of them seem to occur on Christian forums. Examples:

If I win despite my lake of fire-bent heathenistic ways, does that mean you’ll all convert to lake of fire-bent heathenism? … ith-3.html

Even Christians will risk enrolling their precious children in an heathenistic environment all because it’s free. They would rather purchase a luxury Lexis automobile or huge flat-screen TV and other expensive items as opposed to home-schooling or sacrificing and sending their children to schools minus the teaching of evolution. … 7232290826

“Shut up.” She said it without looking at him. “I was still under the influence of that Heathenistic California Society.”

“I played the flute in junior high. Could that have led me down the path to corruption and turned me into the evil heathenistic atheist I am?” … -of-satan/
[An interesting webpage that provides scriptural support for the idea that flutes are of the devil]

Omid, let the elitism go. Join us peons for heathenistic pleasure at the Bill Graham.

One also has to think of the pleasure resorts in places like Thailand and Indonesia, Hawaii etc… Are these places, which are centers for heathenistic pleasure, the areas we should be avoiding? … mber=42146

Agreed, Mohler makes a good point that America is in a nosedive for destruction if we continue in a lifestyle that means staying adolescent until age 30, having premarital sex until we are blue in the face, delaying marriage until we are finished indulging in heathenistic pleasure (which is never satisfied). … ow-up.html

Mel, in the end, said that his heathenistic pleasure was mildly-to-somewhat satisfied but he didn’t intend to make an epic heart-touching movie.



#2 2008-04-04 12:28:38

Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

This is interestingly complicated. There seem to be two things going on in the examples: Several of them, particularly those invoking religion (Christianity or atheism) seem, as Pat suggests, to use heathenistic as simply a re-derived equivalent of heathen. (This reminds me a little of users who derive nouns from verbs which were themselves derived from nouns. A surprising number of companies employ liaisoners.)

Other examples – Pat suggests those mentioning “pleasure,” and I would suggest possibly “California Society” as well – seem to intend hedonism.

It seems as though there are two separate words out there, one a synonym of heathen and one a variant or reshaping of hedonistic. Clearly, as Pat suggests, the phonological shape (sound) of the second influences the first, and probably vice-versa; d>th is a pretty easy substitution to make.

But the two words are also have vaguely similar associations, at least for some people. Specifically, those who are either non-religious or follow a disfavored religion (heathens) may be despised, as may those who regard pleasure – and not God or religion – as the chief good (hedonists).

So is it an eggcorn? Maybe sometimes, for users who blend (or confuse?) the two.

Last edited by nilep (2008-04-04 12:30:05)



#3 2008-04-04 15:39:01

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

The construction “heathenistic pleasure” is almost certainly an eggcorn. In fact, this one gets my vote for best eggcorn find of 2008 (up through March).



#4 2008-04-04 18:44:18

Craig C Clarke
Registered: 2005-11-18
Posts: 233

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

Posting heathenism and debutchery in the same day?
You planning a party or something, Pat? ;)



#5 2008-04-04 20:06:23

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2578

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

Good eggcorn, Patrick. You should go slumming more often.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#6 2008-04-25 12:26:42

Registered: 2008-04-02
Posts: 9

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

As a hedonistic heathenist, I resemble that remark!



#7 2008-04-26 01:54:05

From: Australia
Registered: 2008-02-21
Posts: 7

Re: "heathenistic" for "hedonistic"

jorkel wrote:

The construction “heathenistic pleasure” is almost certainly an eggcorn. [...]

And, I should think, a tautological one if the writer/speaker of it does in fact mean “hedonistic pleasure”.

Gordon Balfour Haynes, professional verbivore, Australia

Dictionaries are like watches: the worst is better than none, and the best cannot be expected to go quite true. Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)



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