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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2012-10-04 16:45:29

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2598

cushy, fanfare, spoonerisms, cynical, excoriate, placate

For every sound-as-a-pound eggcorn that we document on this forum, there is a head scratcher that won’t bust its bona fides. Most of these furtive fellows are hidden eggcorns or eyecorns.

Hidden eggcorns, because they do not change the sound or spelling of their acorns, can only be outed by confessions. Confessions might be easy to obtain in the case of “cushy,” a Hindi derivative courtesy of the British Raj. The word binds itself in many English brains to the unrelated “cushion.” I feel a pull toward hearing “fan” in “fanfare.” But it’s not there: “fanfare” is a borrow of a French onomatopoetic term that is unconnected to the “fanatic” that gave us “fan.” My grown daughter tells me that she once thought that “spoon” was part of “spoonerism.” Perhaps she was picturing someone trying to talk with a spoon in her mouth.

Eyecorns, eggcorn wannabes that change their spelling but not their sound, are difficult to extract from the background noise of creative orthography. When a friend writes that he is “sinical about” a hypothesis, is he thinking about sin? Are the dozen or so web examples of “exscoriate” attempts to scratch and score the excoriated person? And what about the web hundreds who want to “playcate” those who hold contrary opinions – could they be thinking about placating with stress-reducing play?

Anyone want to confess?

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2012-10-05 12:22:13

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1558

Re: cushy, fanfare, spoonerisms, cynical, excoriate, placate

The adoption of cushy might have been favored because it made sense to anglos. It was preeggcorned. That one of these hidden eggcorn can be outed, I think.

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