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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2012-02-11 00:58:58

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2601

presend << present

The absence of “sent” from “absent” and “present” might come as a surprise to many speakers of English. “Sent” is a good Teutonic verb and the “sent” in “absent” and “present” is a present participle of the Latin verb “to be (esse).” How many speakers think “absent” is being “sent away?”

Since “sent” is the past participle of “send,” folk etymology may be part of the reason for the widespread tendency to spell “absent” and “present” as “absend” and “presend.” The web has, for example, thousands of “absend-minded” people. But folk etymology is probably a small part of the overall explanation. The majority of these d/t substitutions are no doubt phonetic cacography: unless a speaker enunciates carefully, terminal “d” and terminal “t” are indistinguishable to most ears.

“Presend” for “present,” though, does encourage an eggcorn-like semantic interpretation. Presents are what we pre-send to arrive in time for a special occasion – a birthday, a wedding, Christmas.

Discussion question on a family forum: “Should the husband buy his wife a presend for mothers day or not. ”

Facebook community page: “If you really want to get a presend for your mother, why not….”

Botanical poetry: “And made a presend of the Hogweed to the Royal Gardens at Kew”

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2012-02-11 14:06:33

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

Re: presend << present

Plausible. Oddly, there are no “presendiments” out there; maybe the acorn is too recherché. But this one provides some support for a send<<sent switch: with my best sendiments.

My sendiments exactly ,aint worth the risk ,your playing with your missus life :eek:
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