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#1 2011-01-22 19:41:45

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

"turning pike" for "turning point"

From a post on my local email bulletin board: “I am a single 36yr. female, Santa Rosa native that has found myself at a turning pike.”

This one is new to me and also apparently new to the Eggcorn Forum. It’s also pretty rare; I had to look through 10 pages of the approximately 1260 “turning pike” Google hits before finding one other usage that appears to have the same meaning (from a discussion on making and keeping resolutions): “New Year’s Day, birthday, anniversary celebration, National Day or whatever – any such ‘milestone’ can be used as a ‘turning pike’ if we are looking for a symbol”

It seems like an eggcorn, with the meaning connection being to this (from the Wikipedia entry on “Pike”): ”...a turning pike, a horizontal timber that was mounted so as to be able to spin or turn (such turnpikes apparently served as barriers to prevent horses from accessing foot paths, and in other instances to block passage until a toll had been paid).” Note that the example I gave in the previous paragraph pretty explicitly references this meaning by comparing/contrasting a turning pike with a milestone while, in context, implying that the turning pike is a metaphor for a turning point in one’s life (though the example I give in the first paragraph may possibly be only from a mishearing, without any meaning connection).

Clearly, a turning pike could literally be a turning point, where a traveler turns to pass through it, or is turned away for lack of funds. I say it’s probably an eggcorn, though I haven’t quite ruled out the possibility that it’s just a mishearing in one case and a metaphor in the other—but it’s hard to imagine someone mishearing “point” as “pike”. How about it—has anyone else encountered this seemingly rare one?

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