Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
The two craft are hardly more than specs in the photos, but prior images from NASA’s picture archive show that the specs were not there before.
Ordinarily, I would just write something like this off as a simple misspelling, but in this case I’m not so sure, for two reasons: 1. the source is the Mensa Bulletin’s “Supplementally” column (March, 2014, page 41), which is not usually given to misspellings, and 2. the word appears twice, spelled the same way each time.
So I searched under “tiny spec” on Ixquick (my default search engine since I’ve heard such bad things about Google’s corporate piggishness) and found lots of examples of “spec” for “speck”, for instance:
The one day I didn’t feel like crying & hating every tiny spec of my being…Not even a tiny spec of illumination!
depressed person’s blog
She spells it “spec” twice in this blog entry.
When one is in this vast space station, Melchior, one realizes that the earth is really but a tiny spec in the horizon…
New Age codswallop
He is grey with a tiny spec of white on his bib med legnth fur.
There are lots of examples—but no plausible eggcornish meaning connection I can think of offhand.
On the other hand, “speck” for “spec”, while a lot less common, may possibly be an eggcorn in some cases.
This was the initially pitch video, all done on speck before we got the official go ahead from the band.
Most of my work is commissions and I like working with my customers to design and build what they want. Then occasionally, when I can fit it in, I build something on speck…
furniture builder’s site
I had tire wear problems with the rear tires on the 07 focus I use to have but I had the Alignment checked and I was told it was right on speck…
“Speck” for “spec” is at least a bit more plausible as an eggcorn. The meaning of “on spec(k)” in the first two examples above could evoke an image of a tiny seed like a mustard seed, just a little speck, that the businessperson hopes will grow into a paying job. The meaning of “on spec(k)” in the last example could mean right on the exact point, precisely right, similar to “on the dot”.