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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2013-11-23 23:14:45

From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1812

Ad homonym again

The database lists ad homonym as “not an eggcorn” (here ), but I find myself questioning the judgement. It’s an eggcorn, says Tony Cooper, except that “it isn’t a re-interpretation that is based on (a correct understanding of the semantics of) the target word homonym ”; speakers are apparently simply thinking of hominem (whatever that means to them) and spelling it homonym .
I wonder, though. The first instance cited of this blooper is as follows:

I don’t speak for the “Religious right”, nor am I sure what is meant by the “Religious right”. I am however, quite suspect of those who attach labels in order to launch ad homonym attacks in lieu of legitimate debate.

Many other usages are somewhat similar: ad hominem attacks often involve labelling or name-calling.
Perhaps labels are understood to be a kind of substitute for the essence of whatever group or individual is being attacked, as a homonym is the wrong word called by a (spelled) name. (Another way to think of it is that perhaps the perps are confusing homonym with synonym—haven’t we all?) So first you call the person by a(n invidious) name and then attack that homonym. It makes a sort of twisted sense to me.
If so, the perps are thinking of a (twisted, non-standard) meaning of homonym and understanding the phrase by means of it. In otherwards, it’s still “based on the target word homonym ”, just not on “(a correct understanding of the semantics of)” it. Seems like a kind of eggcorn to me; we’ve had a few others of the sort, though particular examples are illuding me (waxing allusive) at the moment.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-11-23 23:22:32)

*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)



#2 2013-11-24 13:06:46

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2211

Re: Ad homonym again

Seems to me a reasonable semantic shift. All homonym pairs may exercise an influence, benign or malign, on each other, so why not the self-referential homonym/hominem pair (these are actually homophones, but you know what I mean).



#3 2013-11-24 13:40:14

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 971

Re: Ad homonym again

There are a number of hits for add homonym, as well, which is yet more evidence that it’s not a mondegreen or cupertino, though not conclusive.

Anything that is distasteful to women is met with a group think kamikaze attack, add homonym, irrational, and illogical … rom-other/



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