Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Slug, noun for a lazy person, to slug, a verb for being slow/lazy, and sluggish, an adjective for slothful, have been with us since the fifteenth century. The terms may derive, says the OED, from a medieval Norwegian word. Only the adjectival form, sluggish, has retained currency in its original meaning. The noun, of course, continues to hang around with an altered meaning—a snail sans shell.
A slog, in the sense of a difficult traversal, and to slog, to beaver away at something tough or boring, came along in the nineteenth century. As one British dictionary of the period put it, to slog was to “walk with burdened feet.” The etymological source of the word “slog” is uncertain.
But what about “sloggish?” No dictionary lists it, but it shows up with some frequency on the web. Three examples:
: “Anybody else having sloggish response with servers and support today?”
: “Feeling Sloggish ”
:“ I downloaded it and gave it a go, and I’m fairly impressed so far, although some bits seem sloggish, the character seems a little slow using guns,”
It is possible that some of these people have recoined “sloggy,” but most users of “sloggish,” I suspect, have inoculated “sluggish” with the sense and spelling of “slog.”
While there are eggcornish possibilities here, I think this may be another example of a phenomenon we’ve mentioned before. At this point I should supply a blue clickie, but am unable to do so; searching ‘stunning ovation’ takes you to where the blue clickie should have painlessly ushered you.
Kem joked – or at least I thought he was joking – about another great vowel shift, but I’m afraid it’s no joke. It’s as if the ‘u’ sound has somehow become tainted, and without any discussion or even awareness (?) most broadcasters and those whose vowel sounds must match the prevailing model have somehow become deaf to 20% of the vowel sounds we used to share. It’s like losing losing blue from the colour spectrum. Or should that be bloe?
Here’s an interesting foughing variant that evokes stagnation.
hi i have a shohun 1994 uk turbo oil seals have gone. driving her she very sloughish and smokey so i cut the oil feed off
But yet to dispise the comlines of bewtie, to wast the bodelie strength, to turne nimblenes into sloughishnesse, to consume amd make feble the bodie with fastinge, to do injurie to healthe, and to rejecte the pleasaunte motions of nature; onles a man neglecte these commodities, whiles he dothe with a fervent zeale procure the wealthe of others, or the commen profite, for the whiche pleasure forborne, he is in hoope of a greater pleasure at Goddes hande;
These would be favoured in corners of the world where they say “fooking”.
Last edited by David Bird (2012-08-20 14:00:17)