Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
The original “offbeat” was a musical term. It referred to an event, such as the entrance of an instrument, that happened on an unaccented beat. This musical term was metaphorically extended, in the early part of the twentieth century, to anything that was unconventional or unusual. Offbeat humor, for example, or an offbeat comment.
The replacement of “offbeat” with “oddbeat” reinforces the thrust of the metaphor. Examples:
: “ It was such an oddbeat scene, underlining the nature of the familial bonds that run between these
essentiallygodly (or at least mythical) creatures.”
: “Not expecting to get answer to such an oddbeat question, but… Would any of you happen to know what the current manning levels are for a 2T3X1 (vehicle maintenance) at either of these bases? ”
: “Sometimes dated things can be charming in an oddbeat way, but take my word for it, the Hai Yen does not fit into this catergory. Do not stay at this hotel.”
The word “off” is sometimes used to indicate something irregular, not quite kosher (an offcolor joke, an off flavor, etc.). So it is not surprising to find “odd” and “off” confused in other “off” expressions. The web has several examples of “one odd” for “one off (= unique):”
: “However, such cases are so few and far between that it’s best to view it as a one odd longshot in the dark.”
: “Today is a one odd day where Infy is really leading the market higher, but generally do you think we are going to see strength remain in the strong sectors which are fundamentally riding high? ”
: “The cause of worry is that credit card fraud has grown from a one-odd incident to there being thousands, actually, hundreds of thousands of victims of credit card fraud.”
There are also a couple of web examples of “oddcenter” for “offcenter.” Here’s one
: “ I think because the pumpkin is odd center it fools your eyes. ”
Google searches turn up, in addition, a number of pages with for “on the off chance” and : for “off guard.”
The replacement vector between “off” and “end” can run the other way. There are a number of examples on the web of “offball” for “oddball:”
: “This is kind of an offball question, but why does a Braniff 727 always appear at the end of ‘Southpark’?”
: “ Truly an offball notion, but it really could work and could do away with all the tiring bickering”
: “I think there MAY be an offball chance to turn this into an Extended GaziGlare deck.”
and “offs and ends” for “odds and ends:”
: “He soon became a traveling merchant, selling offs and ends to wandering adventurers.”
: “I bought a bunch of offs and ends of her registry and wrapped it in the basket.. ”
: “It comes with spare springs, servo, and a few offs and ends.”
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
If you get one key off on a qwerty keyboard you can get off when you meant odd or v.v. I don’t think that accounts for very many of these, though.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .