Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

You are not logged in.


Registrations are currently closed because of a technical problem. Please send email to if you wish to register.

The forum administrator reserves the right to request users to plausibly demonstrate that they are real people with an interest in the topic of eggcorns. Otherwise they may be removed with no further justification. Likewise, accounts that have not been used for posting may be removed.

Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2008-07-27 04:25:31

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1667

"pennywaste" for "pantywaist"

The Database already has an elaborate article on “pantywaste” under waist>>waste, but this doesn’t seem to be mentioned there.

The OED spells “pantywaist” as one word and defines it a little differently for the noun and adj. Here’s the definition of the noun (first cite (or for DT, “citation”) 1935):

2. derogatory. A weak or cowardly person, esp. a young boy; a weakling, a sissy.

And the adjective (first cite 1938):

2. Weak, ineffectual; cowardly; unmanly.

The Google numbers are kind of interesting for more reasons than I want to get into. Here are the
figures for various spellings of “pantywaist/pantywaste” (all in raw hits for purposes of comparability):

pantywaist 73300
panty-waist 22900
pantywaste 4190
panty-waste 9630

(Yeah, the distribution of hyphenated and unhyphenated forms is surprising and hard to explain, but that’s not what I want to focus on at the moment.)

Here are the figures for my reshaping:

pennywaist 1
penny-waist 45
pennywaste 572
penny-waste 399

If you filter out unique hits and then look for authentic cases, you’re left more or less with the instances I’ve posted below – a tiny handful. Interestingly, the ”-waste” spellings dominate with the reshaping even though they’re in the clear minority with “pantywaist/waste.” As a reshaping, “pennywaste” is a bit like “nip it in the butt” – it may seem to focus on one aspect of the acorn’s use in context at the expense of a far more essential aspect. Some of the posters cited below clearly think that liberal, bleeding-heart judges/politicians/activists are a waste of their tax pennies, and I think that explains the shift in the ratios for the examples below (3:1 in favor of the “waste” form). The “pennywaste” people lose the sexist “sissy” nuances that “panty” helps to suggest (and I as a bleeding-heart liberal am assuming that that’s a sissyish trait for many of the posters below) , but the derogatory meaning is loud and clear, and the reshaping is still generally used in a context that works for its acorn.


Well, here’s another piece of human trash given a light sentence by some penny waste liberal judge. … ts/?page=1

Time after time we did it, we always failed miserably to honor our heroes, its so pathetic that some penny-waste politician decide the fate of some of the best sportsman that our country has ever produced. … again.html

Boo-hoo, it’s raining acid, there’s a hole in the ozone, you’re hurting Flipper! Bow! A bunch of tree hugging penny waste! They are always standing in the way of progress. And it’s our job to pave right over them.

50 cent is a PENNY WASTE am i right? … velopment-(52BkzUg310k

I vote for when that dust-bowl cousin called John Boy a “pantywaist”. Truer words were never spoken.
I think the correct term was ‘penny waste’. … 74752.html
[you’ll need to click on the site to see who’s objecting to what with this one]

I do not know the history, so I am not sure if it’s at all possible, but Myra being so secretive about Tina’s father can be she does not want to tell her that her father is that drunken pennywaste Leo … &page=2597

Zoey barks to but then she loves him up with her size, she is such a penny-waste. … matty.html

most botters are pennywaste bungholes and cant code

Suing your parents you pennywaste? … 231879622/

you did it right…
yer supposed to play steel string acoustic
you aint no penny-waist candy-ass…
lets git a martin or at least ibanez…
[with one of those Youtube guitar hero videos as a bonus]

u are a penny waist that means that u need to ride more HINT,HINT,HINT,HINT
u get the ponit u dork … =318928061

no penny waist of time mets need Dontrelle Willis … 18917&cp=2

As an aside, when I’ve heard people define “pantywaste/pantywaist” aloud, it’s ALWAYS been something like “a waste of panties.” So I’m surprised that the dictionary spelling still beats the ”-waste” forms. But maybe that’s why the hyphenated form of “pantywaste” has more hits than the unhyphenated version, even though the postions are reversed with “pantywaist”: the people using the -waste version may be trying to emphasize the “waste” element” by giving it the prominence in the word that the hyphen allows it. Other guesses invited.

[Edit: Whoa! I just ran all the numbers in the first block-quote-with-numbers above again, and got very different numbers for almost all of them. I’m quite sure I was really careful the first time around when I started writing this – I kept double-checking them to make sure I wasn’t putting the wrong number with the wrong form – so the new numbers are bizarre. I’m not going to run through them all, but now (about 2 hours later) I’m getting 96000 for pantywaist. And panty-waist is almost even. I’ve seen astonishing shifts over the course of a few days before, but I’ve never seen anything like this in the space of just a few hours. Now I REALLY don’t trust Google numbers.

Scratches head. Goes to bed.]

[Edit Two: Okay, I’ve changed my mind—I need to know whether I unwittingly ingested some LSD with dinner. I want to do an experiment: I’ve run the first batch of numbers again at about 145 AM Pacific Time, and I’d be grateful if someone else would run them, too (at whatever time you see this). In fact, more than one other someone would be interesting. You could cut and paste to save time. Here are the new numbers I just got:

pantywaist 96000
panty-waist 91700
pantywaste 4180 [This is the only one that’s close and it went down by 10!]
panty-waste 13900

Okay, now I’m really going to bed.]

Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-07-27 04:54:25)



#2 2008-07-29 02:00:38

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1667

Re: "pennywaste" for "pantywaist"

I decided to go back to those numbers and run them again. Three of them are more or less stable, but check out “panty-waist”—it’s added nearly 6000 hits in the last few days. Wish I knew what all this meant.

pantywaist 95600
panty-waist 97600
pantywaste 4210
panty-waste 13900

Don’t know whether Google URLs are stable, so I’ll find out: … tnG=Search



#3 2018-01-24 02:38:57

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1374

Re: "pennywaste" for "pantywaist"

I ran into this variation a few minutes ago:

The kitchen just looked horrible. There were dirty diapers piled waste-high.
description of Turpin residence

Hard to see “waste” for “waist” as an eggcorn. I’m thinking that in this case, the immediate context may have nudged “waist” into “waste”.



Board footer

Powered by PunBB
PunBB is © 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson
Individual posters retain the copyright to their posts.

RSS feeds: active topicsall new posts