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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2011-02-22 00:02:47

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

"buckle swab" for buccal swab

From a blogpost from 2005 I ran across while scouting out the likely confusion of the homophones buccal/buckle, given the rapid rise in home DNA testing using buccal swabs. Buckle might refer to the scraping of soft tissues to collect DNA evidence.

I don’t know if this qualifies as an eggcorn or not, but I encountered a curious error in Martin L. Swaden and Linda A. Olup, Family Law, Second Edition (Saint Paul: West Group, 2000 = Minnesota Practice, Volume 14), p. 666, § 18.12 (Blood or Genetic Tests—In General):

[T]he most recent procedure is a buckle swab, where the alleged father’s cheek is swabbed for DNA.

Buckle should of course be buccal. The Latin word for cheek is bucca. It means the cheek as puffed out when speaking or eating, as opposed to gena, which is the surface of the cheek, down which tears flow, on which facial hair grows, etc. From Latin bucca come Romance language words for mouth, French bouche, Spanish and Portuguese boca, and Italian bocca.

Google has a few hits for buckle swab, so this is not an anomalous error. My friend Dennis Mangan tells me that buccal is customarily pronounced just like buckle.

The current count for unique, vetted google hits for buckle swab exceeds 50.



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