Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Our led me to standard mistakes in this field. One of these errors is the frequent replacement of “early adopters” with “earlier adaptors.” Google numbers suggest that this switch has appeared on the web many tens of thousands of times.
It seems to be an eggcorn. “Adopt” and “adapt,” despite their similarities in spelling and meaning, enter English via separate Latin roots.
Ken noted a switch in the opposite direction (“adapt” >> “adopt”) in the early days of the forum: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?id=489
I’ll confess that I really thought it was “early adapters”. Or are they different? “Adapting to new technology” is perfectly reasonable and can done sooner or later.
It’s “early adopter.” The OED traces it back to the postwar technology boom of the 50s:
early adopter n. (orig. Econ. and Sociol.) a person or group that starts using a new product or technology soon after it becomes available, often influencing others to follow suit; spec. (chiefly Marketing) a type of consumer comprising the second of five categories, gauged in terms of their readiness to adopt an innovation …
1951 Q. Jrnl. Econ. 65 (Back matter), Many leading colleges and universities are adopting this book for class use. Among the early adopters are: Boston University, [etc.].