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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2012-11-23 11:31:05

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2589

cluster << >> cloister

As David has pointed out, “cluster” and “cloister” do not stem from the same root word. Because they share, however, five prominent consonants and a wide stretch of semantic turf, the are easily confused by English speakers and writers. Those who are confined (cloistered) together, after all, tend to stick (cluster) together.

We find dozens of examples of “clustered monks” and “clustered nuns” on the web. Examples:

Photo caption: “ These clustered nuns almost never get out the monastery.”

Book review site: “ A beautiful, innocent three year old little girl disappeared 35 years ago; one sister is now a clustered nun and the other two bickering unlikeable sisters now want Jackson to discover what happened to her. ”

Gaming forum: “The phoenix guards have instead a more ceremonial role, they are similar to a knight order of clustered monks”

“Cluster” for “cloister” is the natural direction of substitution. In general, the more common term eggcorns the less common term. In this instance, though, the replacement in the other direction (“cloister” for “cluster”) may also count as an eggcorn. Some of the examples with “cloister around” look like they may be confusions with “cluster around:”

NZ newspaper article: “’‘Crowds of people cloistered around us. It was so lovely and fun and of course a whole lot of tourists took photos. ”

Blog entry: “ Or rather, his animals ate his cake and icecream. Yes, they’re all cloistered around for the meal. ”

San Francisco newspaper forum: “The City Family cloistered around the Fire Chief and in one coherent voice declared that it was a private, family matter by their courses of action, political and legal.”

Many of the examples of “cloister around” for “cluster around,” however, may be deliberate attempts, or echoes of deliberate attempts, to invoke an analogy between crowding together and tight religious communities.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2012-11-28 00:14:23

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

Re: cluster << >> cloister

A fine addition to the burgeoning religious eggcorn cluster.

Cluttered nuns just doesn’t make sense, but there may be something of a blend with cluster/cloister in cluttered away, as if “hidden in all that clutter”.

Cluttered away in Congress is a 1200 page bill with a small paragraph that could create yet another revolution.



#3 2012-11-28 17:23:03

Registered: 2007-12-26
Posts: 95

Re: cluster << >> cloister

The words “sequestered” and “secluded” also may influence alternative ways of referring to cloistered nuns, or sequestered juries.

fanpage: “She spends her childhood with nuns and other noblewomen, seclustered behind walls out from the populace of Italia.”


romance blog: “My marriage prospects destroyed, I’ll either have a husband that is hardly an ideal match, or perhaps end up secloistered in a convent somewhere to live out my life paying penance for my sins.”



#4 2012-11-28 18:47:24

Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 130

Re: cluster << >> cloister

If you saw the floor of my office, the idea of a sheaf of paper being “cluttered away” would make perfect sense.



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