Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
An unusually large number of hand-held weapons take their names from either the people who invented/manufactured them or the eponymous companies they formed. Think of glocks, Smith and Wessons (), walthers, stens, gatling guns, colts, mausers, and berettas.
Derringers, small and concealable pistols, also come into English via the surname route. They were once manufactured by a Henry Deringer (With one “r.”. Where the extra “r” in the generic name came from is anyone’s guess.).
Mr. Deringer’s lack of fame – apart from his firearm – leads to a couple of perversions of the derived gun name. An employee in a store that sells guns : “Why do some people call Derringer’s – Dillinger’s? Twice this week we had customers that referred to a riverboat gamblers derringer, as “a dillinger”” Dillinger, of course, is also a name associated with guns. John Dillinger and his trigger-happy gang were headliners during the Great Depression and Dillinger died in a famous shootout at Chicago’s Biograph Theater. The employee’s observation about the name confusion is confirmed on the web:
: “So that’s what I’mma do, lay in the cut like a 2 shot Dillinger ”
: “ I was shocked when you pulled a dillinger out of your garter and blew away the first intruder.”
: “ And let me guess, she pulled a Dillinger while in there and got herself out by bluffing and using a hand carved handgun?”
The risks associated with packing a derringer may have interacted with ignorance of Mr. Deringer’s role to influence the many web pages with “daring-er.” Three examples:
: “I’m curious to know whether the police might have found a daringer pistol that was stolen out of my car in that area a few months back..”
: commander for the mission I’m on accidentally shot himself in the tummy with his daringer pistol and is in the hospital “Our commander for the mission I’m on accidentally shot himself in the tummy with his daringer pistol and is in the hospital”
: “I think a daringer pistol would be more fitting for her. ”
I wonder if these people are pronouncing the gun name as “daring-er,” with a hard “g.”
Postscript: Dang. Thinking about “daringer” made me misspell “derringer” in the subject line.
Last edited by kem (2012-10-27 21:38:37)
Dillinger is a slight stretch phonetically but an absolute delight conceptually. You know it’s a winner when it’s better than the original.
A few folks out there also think of it as a deranger. I’m sure it’s just a phonetic spelling but still.