Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
“Debutchery” and “debotchery” both have some eggcornish potential, but I’m not fully convinced so I stuck them down here in “Slips.” Both words are often the product of conscious wordplay, but the examples below seemed authentic. I didn’t include any citations in which “debutchery” is just a fancy way of saying “butchery”: there are a few out there. “Debotchery” gets 2500+ raw hits; “debutchery” gets 70+ raw hits. Examples:
It is in human nature to look for God and a way out of the moral debutchery we see in our our Western, atheistic ‘culture’. I for one converted to Catholicism six years ago and have never looked back.
http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/ … ow_up.html
New Orleans always had a reputation of debutchery, now the big storm finally has cleaned it up.
http://www.dailyillini.com/home/index.c … 57bc4aff1f
The show is evil and should not be watched otherwise there will be more shows just like it next year.
America is the land of debutchery. They’ll be more shows like it if it gets high ratings or not.
http://forums.comicbookresources.com/ar … 11825.html
[From a forum discussion of the TV show Moment of Truth]
Welcome to the land of drunken debotchery and questionable sexual behavior…
You’ve been warned…
http://www.bandofriders.net/forums/inde … owuser=765
This highly romanticised version of the young life of King Henry the VIII (that’s the 8th for those who can’t figure out roman numerals) highlights the decadence, debotchery, and demons of Henry’s reign.
http://www.darkhorse.com/boards/viewtop … 716de1022a
Oops—I’ve got a typo in the header: bebutchery. But since deleting and reposting seems to be the only way to fix headers, I’ll leave it.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-04-04 01:21:34)
All the criteria for eggcornicity are present, in both substitutions. Alternate imagery, better-known term replacing a lesser-known word. Speaker not punning. Multiple instances. What more could you ask for?
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
I’ll buy it, too. Certainly it’s not just a misspelling, because the “t” of “butchery” and “botch” have come along for the ride.
Incidentally, Pat, I finally bought the Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage (now in paperback!) as you suggested. It puts a crimp in my style, since I can no longer just make everything up like the other language pundits. A very entertaining book, although every entry might as well end with the words “Whatever is, is right.”
Well, I was uncertain about the eggcorn status of these because the new imagery in both cases didn’t seem so immediately related to the usual meanings of the words. I guess both “debauchery” and “butchery” have a strong sense of out-of-control wildness about them, but I felt that any bout of drinking that included butchery had gone a significant ways beyond a mere debauch. And the same thing with “botch”—you do screw things up when you’re debauched (or so I’m told), but that seems to me one of many sidelights of the experience, rather than a defining aspect. Am I being too strict?
Oh, David—I’m glad you’re enjoying the MWDEU. It’s always seemed to me a small miracle of a book—not only is there an astonishingly vast load of information in there, but the whole volume is pervaded by a weird, subtle, knowing sense of humor.
People on the Amazon site furiously condemn it for being permissive, but the book actually proscribes lots of things in formal writing—it just does so unusually calmly and gently.
We don’t have a formal definition we can apply to eggcorns, so who’s to say what’s too strict and what’s too loose?
As a start, I suppose, we might agree to question any criterion for an English eggcorn that prevents the word “eggcorn” from being an eggcorn. The imagery transfer in “eggcorn” is hardly pristine (“Egg? Not all acorns are egg-shaped, and most of them have these funny caps and pointy ends. And acorns are nuts, not maize or any other grain. What WAS the person thinking of?”). The image transfer in “debotchery” is as good as, perhaps better than, the one in “eggcorn.” And just as funny.
Too bad that we are committed to the word “eggcorn.” Wouldn’t “a debotchery” be a great name for this kind of slip? Self-referential, slightly racy, good mouthfeel.
Last edited by kem (2008-04-10 01:16:08)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.