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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2009-06-25 16:31:16

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2598

socker << soccer

The game of soccer gets its name from the Oxford/English public school tradition of shortening names and adding “-er” (e.g., “brekkers” for breakfast, “rugger” for rugby, “preggers” for pregnant, etc. See the interesting article on the “Oxford -er” in Wikipedia). In the late 1880 the name of Association Football was abbreviated, initially to “socca” and then, within a few years, to “soccer.”

Even before the first recorded instance of “soccer” (1895) people were spelling the name of the game as “socker” (OED: “1891 Lock to Lock Times 24 Oct. 13/2 “A sterling player, and has the best interest of the ‘socker’ game at heart.”; 1894 Westm. Gaz. 11 Jan. 7/1 “The rival attractions of ‘rugger’ and ‘socker’. “)

Presumably the “socker” spelling is an eggcorn based on the principal action in the game: socking the ball with feet and heads. The prominent knee-length socks worn by players may also contribute to the re-imaging.

“Socker” continues to be a popular spelling. A Google search ( for “play socker” turns up at least a hundred unique examples of the error. At this frequency, chances are good that some of these instances are more than phonetic misspellings.

A typical one citation:

Post on a Q&A site “ I play socker all year round and I also run track and cross country. ”

Last edited by kem (2014-09-06 13:24:06)

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



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