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#1 2009-03-08 13:36:58

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1758
Website

distain < disdain

Distain is a very common misspelling of disdain. This should be unsurprising: there would be very little difference in pronunciation between the two for most English speakers, and English has very many more st combinations than sd ones. (The misspelling mistemeanor gets 7M putative ghits, though I’m getting skeptical of Google’s numbers when they’re high.) Repeated and showcased usages (as in the second example below) indicate that the spelling is standard for some.

Heckles prove supporters’ distain. Booing is becoming more prevalent around the country’s stadia,

[Title:] Distain ¶ Distain. Joe Biden holds me in distain. I understand that he was at a rally in Flat Rock, Michigan yesterday and said

in a world in which life-long marriage is too frequently distained, they continue to be faithful to the vows they made back in 1968.

There is of course an archaic word “distain” meaning to stain (away from the original color) or to bring dishonor. Some examples, e.g. the last cited above, could be that sort of meaning, or a blend of it with “disdain”.
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But when it occurs with the notion of despication (!) or looking down on a person, it is quite possible that people perceive the stem stain, with or without the prefix dis -, though the prefix is obviously there to be picked up if you wish. It also fits the word in with a number of others beginning with dist… and having related meanings: if a person is feeling disdained, he is likely to also have distinctly distasteful feelings of being distracted, distressed, distraught, disturbed , perhaps even distempered or distorted though probably not distended , and so forth.
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(Why does distrusted feel like it doesn’t fit in that list? I think I aspirate the t in pronouncing it much more than in the other cases, and am much more aware of dis – and trust as components of the word. Weird.)
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Anyway, if a person perceives “stain” in the word “disdain”, do we have an eggcorn? Or does the fact that he would have reproduced the dis-stain etymology of the historically different word make that an impossibility? Does it matter if the perpetrators ever knew Shakespeare and Spenser used a word distain ?

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2009-03-08 13:40:02)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#2 2013-01-22 01:23:52

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1171

Re: distain < disdain

Q: Are you a sarcastic person?
R: Very. Every word that comes out of my mouth dripping with this stain.
Chat

Last edited by David Bird (2013-01-22 01:24:24)

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#3 2013-02-07 16:07:52

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1758
Website

Re: distain < disdain

I really like that one, Tocayo! Every word dripping with this stain … Aaaah! Shear cutting perfection.

Do we have other this<dis examples?

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-02-07 16:09:30)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#4 2013-02-07 17:08:03

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1171

Re: distain < disdain

Agreed. This one makes it to the level of poetry. There must be others of this sort out there.

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#5 2013-02-10 03:06:40

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1171

Re: distain < disdain

my format is all this combobulated
Game review+

my father is kinda out of the pitcher [...] he could not handle having a this functional family
Sad profile

If I were a damsel in this dress and some helmeted hero turned up at my castle atop a rearing black steed, I’m sure I would have climbed onto the saddle with him.
Motorbike fan

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#6 2013-02-10 16:14:48

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1758
Website

Re: distain < disdain

this combobulated = combobulated in this way?

this functional = functional in this way?

Or are these both just alternate spellings of dis-, with writers still meaning “non-, warped away from (the norm)” ?

A damsel in this dress? What does her dress have to do with anything?

All the same, any of these would be eggcorns (by my lights), if the perps really mean “this” when they say or write them. And they are certainly good examples of some sort of substitution of this < dis-.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#7 2013-02-10 16:22:30

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1171

Re: distain < disdain

No, I think these are just mondegreens and not eggcorns.

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#8 2013-02-19 09:45:53

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 633

Re: distain < disdain

DavidTuggy wrote:

A damsel in this dress? What does her dress have to do with anything?

I think that one could be a true eggcorn. The writer/speaker may think of “this dress” as being a sexy one, so a damsel in “this dress” is one who looks alluring enough to attract a brave savior. If you look at most pictures of damsels in distress, you will in fact see that they’re in “this dress” (often one which has been half torn off).

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#9 2013-02-19 17:41:10

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1758
Website

Re: distain < disdain

That’s dis-dress , not this dress , isn’t it?

(Which has often over the years been used as a joke; it may, as you say, have been an eggcorn as well, in some cases at least.)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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