Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
“Banshee” comes from the Irish bean sídhe, a female fairy. In Irish legend the wail of a banshee presaged a death in the house. Those who associate the banshee with its noise potential might prefer “bandshee.”
: “A Bandshee is sort of hard to kill, since they’re usually sort of dead already.”
: “sounds like a bandshee above 3000rpm”
:= “I went upstairs and swore like a bandshee (what IS a bandshee???).”
Last edited by kem (2011-06-07 22:31:36)
This reminds me of my “Susie and the Cheese Band” post from long, long ago: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=614
Rereading Kem’s examples, I was struck by “swore like a banshee” in the third citation. I’ve never seen that particular simile before (through “screaming/howling,etc. like a banshee” are all familiar. And I can’t remember any particular association between banshees and expletives. So I jumped to books.google.com: they had a few citations for “swore/swearing like a banshee,” but all the citations were from 2001 or later. Then it occurred to me that “cursing like a banshee” actually makes a little more sense if you know anything about banshee lore, and sure enough, there were earlier citations for that. But only one—from 1979—predated 1995.
Well, we’re all aware of the limitations of books.google.com, but the evidence I’ve seen so far indicates that this one may be one of those phrases that seem quite old but are in reality fairly recent innovations. The number of citations from the last few years seems to show it’s spreading quickly right now.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-06-12 17:14:35)
Speaking of mascot, what’s with the popular “maskot” spelling? Could someone influenced by the association of mascots with costumed (masked) sports field characters be tapping into the semantics of “mask?”
Last edited by kem (2011-06-13 16:30:59)
A bandshee strikes me as a cousinish to a bandersnatch.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .