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Thanks for your understanding.
Chris -- 2018-04-11
If referring to a fight, what is the correct term?
I’ve always wondered about this one. Dictionary.com gives me fusticuffs.
But, a quick search of google gives a (recent) FOX affiliate news story with “fist to cuffs”
Also, a search of “fist a cuffs” brings up a post at phrases.org which asks of “fist a cuffs” orgin.
http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_boar … s/488.html
From there, a little bit of digging will bring you to another post where a user asks about the origin of “fist to cuffs” and is given the answer:
“The word ‘fisticuffs’ dates back to the early 17th century, combining ‘fistic’ (related to fighting with the fists) and ‘cuff’ which (still) means a punch. Fisty cuffs became fisticuffs, a fist fight.”
http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_boar … /1388.html
The internet is a strange place, so it’s hard for me to guess who’s right. I wish I had my A.P. style book with me, but I left it at my old house :(
Anyway, I just thought it was interesting, good example of an eggcorn. Really like the site, by the way.
By the way, I was about to contribute “fist-to-cuffs” when I found your old post, so you were here with it first.
Anyway, I got an email from a friend yesterday that contained this particular eggcorn, which was new to me. She wrote:
” . . . a bunch of drunks fighting at bars; it came down to fist-to-cuffs!”
The same sort of expansion we get with “mano-on-mano” (in our database at http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/english/370/mano-on-mano/ ). A preposition inserted to “clarify.”
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Thanks for bringing this back to our attention, Paul. It was posted during a period when the forum was fairly moribund, and I don’t think it got the attention it deserves. (Though more than 2100 views is nothing to sneeze at.)
The image seemed odd to me at first, but a little more thought made it look pretty reasonable—when you block someone else’s punch, you often do it with part of the forearm; a glancing blow near the wrist/cuff isn’t so unlikely.
Kem’s comment may also help explain one odd feature I noticed when I went looking for more examples on the web. A few dozen posters say “went fist to cuffs,” which made a fair bit of sense. But then I discovered that even more people were writing “went fisticuffs,” which seems less easily explained. Perhaps the people using the latter spelling are thinking/pronouncing “fist to cuffs.” But perhaps they’re reformulating the phrase on the pattern of “went mano a mano” instead. If so, it’s a neat example of conceptual bleed-through.
And it’s nice to have a poster with a link to the world of the Hash House Harriers, Paul. I’ve often thought the world would be a better place if all of us in these non-violent, idiosyncratic little subcultures made common cause.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2009-08-28 02:00:08)