Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
My Mom used to wake me up in the morning with this. I thought it was about Adam, from Adam and Eve.
Hi, charsnyder, welcome to the forum.
“Up and Adam” would be a malapropism, if it were inadvertent. I suspect that it is often a pun. In any case, it doesn’t appear to be an eggcorn. To be an eggcorn, there would have to be some semantic synergy between “at ‘em” and “Adam.” But we’re always interested in hearing reasons why slips might be eggcorns.
I’ve got pretty much the same history with this one as charsnyder—even the gender of the parent is the same. I wondered for years what Mom meant by “Up and Adam!” and I was never able to make any sense of her bizarre expression—which means it wasn’t an eggcorn for me as a kid. One day it finally occurred to me to ask her about it, and I can still remember being surprised at the explanation—“at ‘em” had never occurred to me. I think I asked, “At who?”
For this one to qualify as an eggcorn there would need to be some imagery attached the expression “up and Adam.” I can’t figure out any way to interpret it which would lend any sense to the “Adam” portion. Likewise for “up and atom” or any other variant we might consider.
There was imagery for me. I didn’t know much about Adam and Eve but I’d seen the Michelangelo painting segment where God’s finger is sort of commanding Adam to “get up”. I wasn’t sure about Adam and didn’t think “up and Adam” meant it was an exhortation to DO anything, but just to sort of “spring forth” into the world. So that made some sense in terms of my Mom wanting me to get out of bed.
Interesting explanation of the imagery. I guess it has a certain amount of sense to it that would qualify it toward being an eggcorn. I wonder to what degree the imagery has universality: Some eggcorns have a common imagery for many individuals, others have a more personalized imagery.