Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
When I first saw the expression “withering around” (for “writhing around”) I assumed it was a simple typo. But it seems to be fairly common.
I suppose if someone gave you a withering look it might cause you to writhe around, but I doubt that’s the source of this confusion.
Here’s an example from a would-be erotic poem:
Withering around on the floor
Stroking one another
Sparkling twinkles in the air
The room vibrates with sound
Seducing all into a trance
Sinuous moves, erotic chanting
Peeling off clothes
Hover close & mesmerized
Scar the cultural horizon
With embodies vocals
Pay homage with your souls
In the following example I suppose if the victim lost enough blood he might wither—eventually:
“my buddy just got stabbed and hes withering around on the floor bleeding everywhere”
http://www.tranceaddict.com/forums/show … 4RhY5pYunM
Here’s one about the serpents entwined on the medical symbol, the caduceus:
“Eventually their withering around the caduceus brings about equilibrium of opposing factors, qualities, or tendencies”
http://www.themystica.com/mystica/artic … uceus.html
There are of course proper ways to use the phrase “withering around”:
“We were so busy finishing the project, we didn’t notice nature withering around us.”
But try the phrases “withering around on the floor” and “withering around on the ground” to find some goofy examples.
“Wither in agony” produces even more hits:
“Screams filled the cabin as the demons host began to bleed and wither in agony”
“It burned like she set her skin on fire. It hurt her. It made her wither in agony.”
http://thecuriouswritingsofhelendemeter … /thinking/
“Please Up-Date soon or I’ll be forced to wither in agony untill you do.”
A blog post led me to this variant in a Roger Ebert interview with director Paul Schrader:
“And the kinds of things that would make a heterosexual man whither in agony,”
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbc … 004/-1/RSS
Analyzed in the Shepcast Chronicles:
““whither in agony” instead of “wither in agony,” although it’s entirely likely that Schrader actually said “writhe” in the interview — (paragraph 13, line 4)”
Last edited by brians (2012-04-10 12:57:43)
“Wither” for “writhe” looks a lot like a typo. At best, it’s an eyecorn. The sound of the two words is not close.
The real gem you uncovered, in my opinion, is “whither” for “wither.” One could easily believe that the notion of withering away could be transmuted into the idea going somewhere, know not whither. More examples:
: “So, if you have a friend that means a lot to you and they have to move away, you do not have to let the friendship whither away and die.”
: “The bourgeois state will never whither away. ”
: “This ability to survive in this manner separated the sturdier Indian ponies from the grain fed army horses who would often whither away and die under these conditions. ”
I used to have a friend who would say “writher” (rhymes with wither) for “writhe”, clearly a blend of “wither” and “writhe”.
This one is very interesting. To get to wither from writhe, you need to have a parsing gremlin somewhere in the grey room who is sciently producing anagrams. It would be fun to look for others. Alternatively, is there some slither in there?
Looks very likely to me to involve (as David B suggests above) a blend of writhe with slither or dither (and probably wiggle/wriggle too); the frecuentative _-er_ / (_-le_) is almost certainly involved somehow, I should think.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-01-17 16:23:44)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .