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#1 2010-08-06 21:45:25

judytuna
Member
Registered: 2010-08-06
Posts: 1

"plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

Frontierville is a Facebook game made by San Francisco-based game company Zynga. Here’s a screenshot of an error message that you get when you run out of energy:

(link to screenshot here: http://s97.photobucket.com/albums/l202/ … 3142PM.png )

Is this an eggcorn? Someone heard “plumb out of something,” and processed it as “plum” ?

I searched these forums, and there are two mentions of using “plumb” instead of “plum” as in “a plum job”, which isn’t the same as what I’m reporting, and there IS one mention of what I’m reporting: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/view … hp?id=2039
But I wasn’t sure if I should create my own topic or bump that one from 2007.

I’m imagining that I have a fruit tree, but it’s out of plums.

Last edited by judytuna (2010-08-06 21:57:20)

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#2 2010-08-07 00:03:40

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

Welcome to the forum, judytuna—and thanks for the colorful graphic!

This kind of thing is fraught with uncertainties. “Plumb” and “plum” are exact homophones, so one would expect lotsa misspellings in any case. And these two actually have a centuries-long history of being used interchangeably—in fact, the OED’s first citation for this particular sense of “plumb” is spelled “plum”; in their list, the “plumb” spelling doesn’t appear to dominate until the 20th C, and it clearly hasn’t won the battle yet.

The “tree out of plums” explanation is better than I would have thought possible for this, but personally I think it’s still a bit too syntactically awkward.

But I wasn’t sure if I should create my own topic or bump that one from 2007.

It’s easier for us to keep track of things if people add to an already-extant thread about the same topic, but we don’t exactly go cracking the whip on that point.

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#3 2010-08-07 02:17:04

klakritz
Eggcornista
From: Winchester Massachusetts
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 674

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

And if you’re willing to relax the stricture of perfect homophony, you find this:

He let it hit top speed before realizing he was plump out of control of the situation and then bailed off …
www.city-data.com/.../547888-what-your- … cycle.html

We’re plump out of ideas. So…ta-dah!”
friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html

Which means that all you batty old farts that didn’t want to go buy new computers and didn’t want to buy Vista for $360 at Best Buy are plump out of luck …
clevertech.blogstream.com/

They may want to institute a recall because “frankly” I think they are all plump out of their minds.
www.sodahead.com/united-states/video…/blog-389669/?

With that, she pulled several of flowers plump out of the ground and offered the bulbs to us to keep!
www.intangibility.com/Photography/Trave … dDay4.html

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#4 2010-08-07 22:16:50

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 813

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

Or, back to perfect homophony, as a variant of with aplomb:

Handles all the Great British roads throw at it-with a plum.

We had to dig in and find that diamond in the rough. We did it with a plum.

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#5 2011-01-14 03:40:19

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 616

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

klakritz wrote:

He let it hit top speed before realizing he was plump out of control of the situation and then bailed off …
www.city-data.com/.../547888-what-your- … cycle.html

We’re plump out of ideas. So…ta-dah”
friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html

Which means that all you batty old farts that didn’t want to go buy new computers and didn’t want to buy Vista for $360 at Best Buy are plump out of luck …
clevertech.blogstream.com/

They may want to institute a recall because “frankly” I think they are all plump out of their minds.
www.sodahead.com/united-states/video…/blog-389669/?

With that, she pulled several of flowers plump out of the ground and offered the bulbs to us to keep
www.intangibility.com/Photography/Trave … dDay4.html

And here’s a confusion between the -ing forms of the same 2 words (plumb and plump), but with an entirely different meaning: “I have experience in natural building as well as painting and some plumping” (found today in a post in my local email bulletin board). I can’t call this an eggcorn because I can’t see a plausible meaning-confusion, but it’s hard to imagine that this guy hears “plumbing” and “plumping” as homonyms, and equally hard to imagine that it’s a misspelling due to a slip of the typing finger, as “b” and “p” aren’t anywhere near each other on the keyboard. So I don’t know what was going through this guy’s mind when he came up with this one.

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#6 2011-01-14 06:31:07

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

b and p are very close to each other phonologically (voiced vs. voiceless bilabial stops), and they are the only two consonants that can easily occur after m in English with no morpheme boundary intervening. It is thus not a totally random wtf alternation, as if it were plumking or plumthing or some(p)thing.


*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 2011-01-14 07:40:35

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 616

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

DavidTuggy wrote:

b and p are very close to each other phonologically (voiced vs. voiceless bilabial stops), and they are the only two consonants that can easily occur after m in English with no morpheme boundary intervening. It is thus not a totally random wtf alternation, as if it were plumking or plumthing or some(p)thing.

I get your point, but still—hearing “plumbing” as “plumping” or vice versa? Seems to me like quite a stretch.

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#8 2011-01-14 08:43:03

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1751
Website

Re: "plum" instead of "plumb" in "i'm plumb out of something"

Not so much hearing the one as the other as pronouncing one for the other, and in this case typing one sequence (e.g. mp ) for the other (e.g. mb ). Our fingers, as well as our minds and our tongues/vocal chords, become accustomed to typical sequences, and are more likely to interchange between two very frequent sequences than between a frequent one and a highly infrequent one.


*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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