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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2006-08-16 23:56:08

Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 130

piecemeal -> peace meal?

I caught this one in a coworker’s email, but to avoid embarassment, I’ll list a few occasions that I’ve seen it online:

” Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a peace-meal basis as various crises develop.” … rvard.html

“Peace-meal approach
AP-Naxalite talks raise hopes, questions
The start of negotiations between the Andhra Pradesh Government and the Naxalites is a positive beginning.”

Possibly an intentional pun below, although I’m not certain…
“Indeed we shall be reminded that peace can not be delivered peace meal to the Sudan, Sudan needs and must have comprehensive peace, peace in the south, peace in Darfur, and peace in the everywhere.”

What I’m not sure about is whether this is really just a mis-spelling? Or is it common enough to indicate that those using the phrase assume it has something to do with keeping or creating peace? These particular instances all come from contexts where peace appears to be an issue.

I’d appreciate feedback since I’m new to this site.

-Francesca Berger



#2 2006-08-17 15:49:59

Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: piecemeal -> peace meal?

I thought you did a nice analysis so far. The problem I always have with identifying legitimate eggcorns is determining the secondary meaning when the words are switched from the original.

We understand that “piecemeal” means “a piece at a time.” And, it’s conceivable that some people simply don’t know the correct spelling for “piece”—-and would write it as “peace,” not know the difference. But, I think you largely dispelled (pun intended) this possibility since all your posts are about “peace” and most people would then recognize the “piece” should be spelled differently. I hope I haven’t lost anyone so far.

Now here’s the critical issue: If a person were to understand the difference between “peace” and “piece,” then what image would they have in their mind for the term “peace meal” (if they didn’t know the meaning of “piecemeal”)? Perhaps a figurative meal cooked up with peace and other nice things? Try working out an image like that and you’ll have cracked your eggcorn (as I like to say).



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