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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2009-12-09 20:38:58

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2200

cutlet, hold, curtail, frontispiece

For fans of hidden eggcorns, a double brace of words that arrived in English via the eggcorn highway:

Cutlet. Sorry, no cut in cutlet. “Côtelette,” the French word for “cutlet,” clues us to the sources of the word. In French “côtelette” (originally “costelette”) is a smallish côte de boeuf ou porc, a side of beef or pork. “Côte” and “cutlet” derive ultimately from the Latin “costa.” The confusion that added “cut” to the word is so funny it makes me want to laugh until my costal bones hurt.

Hold (of a ship). “Hold” comes from the same Teutonic root that gave us “hollow” and “hole.” The hold of a ship, the storage area above the keel, was originally the ship’s holl, or hole. Apparently the “d” was added under the influence of “hold” (as in “How much cargo can this ship hold?”).

Curtail. From the word “curtal/courtal,” referring to, among other things, a horse with a bobbed tail (French “court” = short). The thing that one cuts off to make a curtal sneaked into the last syllable. Until the eighteenth century “curtail” was pronounced with the accent on the first syllable–the weight of the tail of “curtail” apparently pulled the accent to the end of the word.

Frontispiece. A frontispiece is a small piece at the front of a book, yes? But neither “front” (at least in the sense of “in front of”) nor “piece” are in the Latin source word “frontispicium,” which referred originally to the façade of a building.

Last edited by kem (2009-12-31 06:12:34)



#2 2009-12-09 21:28:27

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1241

Re: cutlet, hold, curtail, frontispiece

You know I love these . Like Humpty-Dumpty we want names to have meanings.

Pat mentioned the hold/hole transformation fleetingly here. I only know that because of a series of links supplied by nilep here.



#3 2009-12-10 12:12:08

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: cutlet, hold, curtail, frontispiece

Nice set of ancient eggcorns.

Regarding “hold,” there is also this post of mine which mentions the confusion of “holed up” with “hold up”...

HOLD up (holed) by jorkel … hp?id=1271

Last edited by jorkel (2009-12-10 12:13:37)



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