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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2008-09-18 15:50:26

From: Utah
Registered: 2007-11-27
Posts: 10

"go out on a whim" for "go out on a limb"

There are 1700 ghits for “going out on a whim”. Many occurrences are evidently intentional puns, including, apparently, a few titles of things. But hundreds of them seem to be people using “going out on a whim” in a completely ordinary and serious way.

It certainly has the right semantic flavor for an eggcorn candidate. For these people whatever they’re going out on a whim about isn’t so much risky sticking-their-neck-out as it is just saying something because they suddenly feel like it.



#2 2008-09-19 22:07:24

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: "go out on a whim" for "go out on a limb"

Very nice find. This one seems like a plausible candidate for an eggcorn to me. Even though “on a whim” is a legitimate construction in it’s own right, many of the utterers use “out on a whim” as if it were an idiom. Clearly that construction was inspired by “out on a limb.”

Here’s the only thing that bugs me about this one: You would think that virtually everyone knows the expression “out on a limb.” Even those who utter “out on a whim” may know it in it’s correct form—and they may be making the substitution on a subliminal level. Even so, with 1700 Google hits, there is bound to be at least one instance where the utterer didn’t know the original idiom.

Extreme Makeover Ideas for New Hair Styles, Lengths, and Col…
“She went out on a whim and headed for the Vidal Sassoon Beverly Hills Salon. Its salon director Etienne Taenaka snipped off 12 inches of the naturally wavy … – 28k – Similar pages



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