Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
A friend of mine used this spelling in her blog, and I first thought to point it out as a careless error, but then it occurred to me that it sort of made sense, and then it clicked: eggcorn! I googled “footware” and came up with a number of hits. If I’m searching correctly, it also doesn’t seem to be in the Eggcorn Database or posted already in this forum, so here you go.
Welcome to the Fourm, colinski.
Footware seems somewhat parallel to housewares, giving it eggcorn potential, though it doesn’t follow the pattern of the more common silverware or software. As billyphuz says, it is ‘a ware for the foot,’ parallel to ‘wares for the house’; not ‘wares made of silver’ or ‘wares that are “soft” / flexible / not built in.’ Still, it seems like a genuine eggcorn.
I’m a bit surprised that someone would substitute ware for wear, however, given how common the latter is in everyday speech. (The British National Corpus features 521 instances of ware(s), versus 5,709 instances of wear(s). While I’m at it, I note there are 11 instances of housewares versus 64 of silverware and a whopping 9,387 instances of software.)
Then again, maybe the frequency and productivity of forms like software, hardware and wetware overcomes the semantic fit of menswear, evening wear and the like.