Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

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Chris -- 2015-05-30

#1 2017-05-16 04:18:54

crispybacon
Member
From: Wellington, New Zealand
Registered: 2015-07-19
Posts: 24

Nail one's colours to the mask (mast)

This nautical idiom means to display your beliefs about something clearly and defiantly. I guess for a lot of people the imagery of the original expression is lost, and “mask” is a more familiar word than “mast”, hence the substitution. Although masks can certainly be colourful, I’m not sure the substitution makes enough sense to be an eggcorn. What do you think?

Here are some examples:

“Wilkie nailed his colours to the mask years ago during the live export ban, where he was one of the ringleaders,” Bowen said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/ … xport-beef

“Are we backing someone who could not possibly win? Yes, we are. But there is a feeling we need to nail our colours to the mask.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic … esson.html

For some, the pursuit of success can feel endless, with new generations of supporters nailing their colours to the mask since the last celebration party was held.
http://www.thefootballreporter.com/Blog … shine/8573

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#2 2017-05-22 01:32:21

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1150

Re: Nail one's colours to the mask (mast)

I think a case for eggcornicity can be made because “nailing one’s colors to the mask” conveys an image of displaying one’s feelings (or allegiances or positions, etc.) right on his/her face, similar to the “mast” acorn as well as to “wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve”.

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