Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I stumbled on this online today: “Ashley madison isn,t what its cranked up to be according to wikipedia.” I was surprised to find that this one doesn’t seem to have been discussed here on Eggcorn Forum as, now that I’ve seen it, it seems like a natural eggcorn, and it’s also fairly common; my Google sampling yielded around 350 unique eggcornish hits, such as:
Is your job not all it’s cranked up to be?
He was also every bit the gentleman that he was cranked up to be…
Josiah Chowning’s Tavern: Not all that its cranked up to be
“Cranked up to be.” A case where the eggcorn makes much better sense than the acorn. “Cracked up = praised” is not all that transparent.
Works in the other direction, too, with “crank” >> “crack,” as in the compound “crankcase” >> “crackcase:”
: “Changing the Crackcase Breather Hose”
: “ crackcase breather hose, from VW NEW! ”
: “What is the capacity of oil in the crackcase of 2004 kawasaki zrx1200r with fresh filter”
“Crackcase” is a common substitution—and a reasonable one, given the tendency of crankcases to crack.
“Cracked up = bragged about” may be more transparent to people of Irish backgound, although the word “crack” or “craic” for gossip, news, or general pub-talk has been bouncing back and forth between Britain and Ireland for centuries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craic
The confusion of “cranked up” with “cracked up” may be related to street drug slang – a person using a cocaine derivative could “crack up her welfare check”, while someone using crystal meth might “crank up with his girlfriend”.
Last edited by Eoin (2013-02-14 14:18:36)
Is that “criac” or “craic”, Eoin? (I don’t remember ever seeing or hearing it.) I think I too have heard “get cranked up” as a description/euphemism for “get drunk/stoned”.
There’s also the archaic slang “all the crack” meaning “of the latest fashion”. (I think I learned it reading Georgette Heyer.) Is that related to what something is cracked up to be?
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
That’s fascinating, Eoin, about “craic.” How it nestled for decades in a Midlands refugium, leaped to Ireland, then made its way back to England. The term has not made friends on this side of the pond—I have never heard it. “Craiced up” would be a perfect eggcorn for “cracked up.”
Sorry, my spelling error, it is craic (as I have corrected), although as wikipedia points out, some people see the spelling as an affectation, since crack and craic are homophones. As a past tense verb it might be “craicte” (surely not “craiced”), which in Scots Gaelic means “crazy”, although that takes the sense of “crack” away from joking/bragging to joking/insane. I’d assumed if something “wasn’t all what it’s cracked up to be” it was in the sense of “wasn’t all it was bragged up to be”. “All the crack” would fit the sense of crack=gossip “all the talk”.
Crank and crack are specific kinds of drugs, similar in that they are both stimulants, generally “cooked up” at home and prone to tragic, fiery mishaps in the process, the former being more popular among poor rural whites, the latter among poor urban blacks. When I first heard the term “crank” I thought it was just new word for crack, so I can see it transitioning in other expressions. Life in a trailer park’s not all it’s cranked up to be.
Last edited by Eoin (2013-02-14 16:09:15)