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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2014-08-03 11:55:25

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2601

Eggcorn 360s, bulkanize << balkanize, fullhardy << foolhardy

Some of our eggcorns and eggcorn-like slips invert the meaning of the sentences and clauses in which they appear. In the old Comments section of the Eggcorn Database, a contributor noted the tendency to use the phrase “360-degree turnaround” in place of “180 degree turnaround.” That’s what these 360s do—leave you pointed the wrong way. They are, if you like, the eggcorn equivalents of contranyms.

Ken, as an example, entered “pasterior” (for “posterior”) into the eggcorn lists in 2005. A posterior event is something that happens later. “Pasterior” seems to imply it happened earlier. Other classic 360s include

wreckless driving << reckless driving,
undevoted attention << undivided attention,
loominous << luminous,
as is my won’t << as is my want,
nature adores a vacuum << nature abhors a vacuum,
separate the weed from the chaff << separate the wheat from the chaff,
disburst << disperse,
just ‘cause << just cause,
disbanned << disband,
encourageable << incorrigible,
mitigate against << militate against,
on timely << untimely,
know-brainer << no-brainer, and
defunked << defunct.

Four of our 360s have a particularly subtle touch. Via de la Rosa << Via Dolorosa takes the painful “way of sorrow” traveled by Jesus and turns it into a rose-strewn path. Minus touch << Midas’ touch suggests that the alchemical king brought deficits into existence rather than assets (Though his assets turned into deficits when he found he couldn’t eat golden food.). Last year I noted the hidden eggcorn eminence grise. Meant originally as a negative comment on political advisors, it has transformed itself into a positive descriptor. A 360 that occurred in the Comments section, simper fi << semper fi, turns the “always faithful” claim of the U. S. Marine Corps into a motto for milquetoasts.

In the last few days I’ve come across two more of these 360s. One is “fullhardy” in place of “foolhardy.” Here are a few instances of this switch on the Web. The other is “bulkanize.” The term “Balkanize” means to separate into ineffectual pieces. It comes from the Balkan mountains, which stretch through a region that split up into a number of weak states when the old Ottoman Empire began to dissolve. Transforming it to “bulkanize” suggests a move in the opposite direction, from many little pieces to one large one. Here are three of the hundreds of examples of this switch on the Web:

Article in a Nigerian newspaper: “When you bulkanize a nation along religious line, you ignite the inflammable.”

Economy blog comment: “Industries (subsidized by government) in the US have always been known to bulkanize their organizations/manufacturing plants.”

Political thread post: “Today they come to America never intending to become Americans, but to Bulkanize America by keeping their languages, individual countries customs, and to steal the free benefits.”

Last edited by kem (2014-08-03 12:00:41)

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2015-01-04 22:25:17

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1277

Re: Eggcorn 360s, bulkanize << balkanize, fullhardy << foolhardy

We might also add to the list David Bird’s discovery “disshuffled for disheveled”.

And of course, “separate the weed from the chaff” is only an antonym if you’re not talking about marijuana.



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