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#1 2005-11-14 17:54:05

-DeeT
Member
Registered: 2005-11-14
Posts: 2

'perimeters' for 'parameters'

“Within certain perimeters”: 512 google hits

I find this to be a compelling eggcorn because ‘perimeters’ suggests a boundary, which is the whole point of staying within certain parameters.

-DeeT

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#2 2005-11-14 18:47:32

Chris Waigl
Eggcorn Faerie
From: London, UK
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 115
Website

Re: 'perimeters' for 'parameters'

On the one hand you are right about the “boundary” sense, but on the other hand, both “parameter” and “perimeter” are difficult, Latinate (or Greek, as it were) words. So for some, the mix-up between the two is certainly just a malapropism. I’m not convinced that the sense of “perimeter” is well-understood by those who write “within certain perimeters”. Which is the reason this one hasn’t been added.

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#3 2005-11-14 20:00:50

alecmcclay
Member
Registered: 2005-11-11
Posts: 5

Re: 'perimeters' for 'parameters'

Actually you can make a case that the eggcorn goes the other way. The mathematical term “parameter” does not mean a limit or boundary, it just means a variable that can be given a range of different values to describe various situations. The colloquial use, as in “staying within the parameters”, could well have originated through confusion with “perimeter” which does mean (the length of) a boundary.

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