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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2006-05-27 19:33:31

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

'gingerly' - a hidden eggcorn?

Here’s a quote about ‘gingerly’ from p4 of “Therapy,’ a novel by Davic Lodge:

’... funny word actually, nothing to do with ginger, I always thought it meant the way you taste ground ginger, very carefully, dippping a moistened finger into it, and then trying it on the tip of your tongue, but no, it’s thought to come from the Old French genson, dainty, or gent, of noble birth…

It looks like Lodge is right about the etymology- no surprise, as he’s a retired English professor. But, like his character, I too had assumed ‘gingerly’ had something to do with the spice. Does my confusion, which I’d bet is widely shared, qualify as a hiden eggcorn?



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