Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Hoist by one’s own petard. Both hoist as an unusual past participle (I think the present tense was originally something like hoise), and petard as, in the military parlance lately adopted by the news media, an Improvised Explosive Device, are unknown outside of this idiom and therefore wide open for reinterpretation. A victim of explains the origins of the phrase:
 Privacy watchdog hoists Google by its own petard
[comment:] Hoi! #
It’s foist not hoist. As in “foist by one’s own petard” (a shaped charge of gunpowder originally designed to blow holes in gates and later used to remove hinges and locks etc.) To be so pedantic indicates I don’t have a life but at least it won’t be appearing anywhere but online
the other use was in a petard (which is were we get the term hosed by your own petard) which was the very first directional charge.
http://nice.purrsia.com/phpBB3/viewtopi … 1&p=215989
Finally, there are a few examples of hanging by one’s own petard, which are probably modelled on leotard, or unitard, presenting images it is better not to dwell upon.
“Political comment (snippet from forum.aeforum.net/index.php?showtopic=385228)”
Many pundits foresaw that Harper would dangle from his own petard
Spicy as New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s travails are, and lovely as it is to witness a pontificating, preachy reformer dangle from his own petard, still, one wonders, is this all there is?
The Great Bloat Teddy should be hanged by his own petard, but it would probably tear off from straining at carrying his vast evil bulk.
For a “foist” and “hoist” confusion see http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/view … hp?id=3341
I used to think, for some reason, that a petard was something like a pike or halberd, so I’d say “hoist on his own petard” with an image of someone caught on the end of such a weapon and hoisted up into the air, dangling. I don’t know how I got that impression, as a brief Internet search yields no word for a pike-like weapon similar to “petard”. I was right about the military aspect and the general time period, but that’s about all.