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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2011-12-21 17:25:46

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"debt heat"/"dead heap"/"dead head" for "dead heat"

“Dead heat” is a weird-sounding phrase to use in reference to a competition in which neither side has the least advantage. You’d expect two people running flat out to evoke liveliness rather than deathliness. But the online etymology crowd explains that the sense of “dead” at work here is “identical,” as in “dead ringer.” And “dead” meaning “exact, precise” in phrases like “a dead shot” appears to be a related sense. Unsurprisingly, “dead heat” itself has been reanalyzed a few times.

To make my life easier, I looked for variations of “statistical dead heat,” and found just one hit for “debt heat,” which is a bit hard to justify semantically:

Our quality has continued to improve, with the latest competitive survey showing an 8% improvement in initial quality versus last year, putting us in a statistical debt heat with Honda and Toyota. … Final.html

More obviously eggcornical is “dead heap.” I imagine my metaphorical runners crossing the line together and immediately falling on top of each other so that it’s impossible to declare a winner:

The trio combined to miss 56 games this season and still finished third in the Western Conference in a statistical dead heap with the Denver Nuggets in terms of winning percentage. … -have-left

As I suspected the Huckster (18) is pretty much dead last. Only Gravel (17) is behind him in what is a statistical dead heap. … ent-55475/

Who has the lower approval rating?
Well, President Bush and John J. Donahoe may be in a statistical dead heap...a heap of dung. … hp?p=46489
[This person is clearly joking, but I wasn’t sure whether or not they knew “dead heap” was nonstandard.]

To my surprise, “statistical dead head” was far more common than the others, with dozens of hits. I think this must be crossing on over into WTF typo territory, though I’m not sure:

A new McClatchy-MSNBC poll shows a statistical dead head in Iowa in the Democratic presidential race and a shift in the Republican race. John Edwars leads with 24%, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton with 23%. … l-dea.html
[Kind of fascinating to realize that almost exactly four years ago John Edwards was leading in Iowa. Huh.]

The latest poll from Survey USA shows a statistical dead head for the US Senate Race in Kentucky … dead-head/

So even though the most hotly-anticipated performer poll remains a statistical dead head between Eminem and Lady Gaga, the newest names dropped into the mix have definitely thrown a curve ball. … rmers-poll

On the Republican side of the isle, John McCain is uncontested, however is either tied with Obama in some polls or what would amount to a statistical dead head in the rest … Cain_Show/

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is in a statistical dead head with Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine in a 2009 gubernatorial poll: Getty Images

Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-12-21 17:27:15)



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