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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2016-01-24 05:32:29

From: Spain
Registered: 2009-08-15
Posts: 434

Picture Perfect and Perfect Pitch

I’m wondering about the extent to which “picture-perfect” and “pitch-perfect” get eggcorned to each other, without wanting to necessarily suggest that either is the eggcorn, if you see what I mean.

I can’t see when the adjective “pitch-perfect” got first used. Merriam-Webster online inscrutably says 1970, without providing any further information. By analogy with “picture-perfect”? With or without a soupçon of eggcornery?

Or is there a pattern where an x which is a perfect y becomes a “y-perfect x”?

On the plain in Spain where it mainly rains.



#2 2016-01-25 00:59:46

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2632

Re: Picture Perfect and Perfect Pitch

A Google Ngram search for the pattern turns up “word perfect” and “letter perfect.”

But “pitch/word/letter perfect” aren’t semantic parallels with “picture perfect.” “Picture perfect” has the sense of “perfect as a picture,” while the others have the sense of “perfect with respect to letters/words/pitches.” If “pitch perfect” is being stalked by “picture perfect,” it’s mostly a sound parallel.

Speaking of perfect pitch, this video showed up on my FB wall this week.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#3 2016-01-25 12:39:44

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1576

Re: Picture Perfect and Perfect Pitch

Interesting. The first incarnations of pitch perfect and picture perfect were literal descriptions of pitches and pictures, according to the ngram links. Picture perfect appears to have preceded pitch perfect, but not by much. Ten years, maybe. Pitch perfect went metaphorical. The instances of swapping have eggcorn potential, but they clash semantically.

gamer politics Bush ’s speech was picture perfect.

pol blog His speech was picture perfect for what I was going through

fanfic “Hey, check it out, Jax.” I nudged his arm as Chewie drove slowly onto the park road. “It’s gorgeous out there.”
Outside, the scenery was pitch-perfect—but Jax’s eyes were still fixed on his game.



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