Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I encountered this error on Facebook: ”...the Reno Arts and Culture Commission which had sought out artists to produce something out of the disgarded steel pipe left over from the partially dismantled ‘Taba Turbine project’...”
I hadn’t seen this one before, but googling “disgarded” yielded about 260 or so unique hits with this meaning. It seems like it could be a real eggcorn rather than just a misspelling because the meaning of the similar word “disregarded” is similar enough to the meaning of “discarded” to create the meaning-confusion necessary for an eggcorn.
The database contains “discard>>disguard”, and I thought that guard might be behind “disgard”. In fact, I wondered whether the roots of discard might lie in the French word “garder”, for “keep”. But no, not even close. You might think, then, that discard comes from the prolific world of gaming. The normally sober Online ED thinks so:
1590s, lit. “to throw a card away,” from dis- “away” + card (n.). Figurative use (in a non-gaming sense) is first recorded 1580s. In the card-playing sense, decard is attested by 1550s. Related: Discarded; discarding. As a noun, from 1742.
Old French descarter (“to scatter”), for more usual escarter (French écarter), Vulgar Latin *exquartare (“to quarter out, to remove portions”). Although early associated with card play, it doesn’t derive from card.
I don’t know who to believe. There are thus three distinct root words tangled together in this family: card, as in “chart” (Gk., traceable to Egygptian), guard, as in “ward” (P.Gmc.), and discard, as in “quarter” (L., traceable to PIE). It appears that the first and the third were married in the hidden eggcorn of “discard” very early on.
On a more scatological level, my unguarded pronunciation of disgard is indistinguishable from my rendering of discard. So there’s a chance that at least some disgard s are what DT calls phonetic spelling.
Last edited by David Bird (2012-04-29 22:09:34)