Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
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.
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.
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