Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
A sister ‘corn to “lopsighted” for “lopsided”
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/view … hp?id=3620
“lop-sized” for “lop-sided”
https://encrypted.google.com/search?num … =&aql=&oq=
“A recent Nation carried a rather lop sized essay on AIDS in India.”
“Her belly is super lop-sized most of the time.”
http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/ho … 64518.html
This mix of the two forms makes me think that there may be some divergent lexicalization happening:
“You can hide a lop-sided butt, but not lop-sized balls.”
http://www.divxtitles.com/subtitles/534 … le_Bride/2
This one sent me to the dictionary. I realized that I had no idea what “lop” in “lop-sided” meant. Turns out it’s an eighteenth century nautical term. It used to be spelled “lap-sided” and it referred to a ship that listed to one side so that it looked like a lapping wave.
Funny and peculiar. Some of the hits seem to be a blend with lap-sized, as in lap-sized, lop-eared bunnies.
I went looking for the etymology because of bunnies. I have the feeling that many people think “lop-sided” has something to do with lop-eared rabbits. Lop-eared rabbits often have, and are pictured as having, their ears out of sync, leaning to one side.
While musing on the origin of “lop-sided,” I came across a synonym, “galley-west,” that has eggcornish overtones in its history. I’ve never used the term “galley-west” myself, and I can’t remember ever seeing or hearing it used. Some people must know it, though – “galley-west” was featured on a recent Merriam-Webster word of the day.
The folks at M-W say that “galley-west” is almost always employed in the phrase “to knock galley-west” and that it means to force something to be awry, cockeyed, lop-sided. They write: “American author Mark Twain is on record as one of the first to use ‘galley-west’ in his writing. Etymologists believe the word is a corruption of dialectal English ‘colleywest’ or ‘collyweston.’”
Collyweston is . A philological journal from 1855, the OED notes, says that “[w]hen a Lancashire man is altogether unsuccessful in his schemes, he says that everything goes colley-west with him.” “Coll(e)y-west” has been used with this “awry” meaning since the 16th century. I don’t know what the people in the village of Collyweston do that turns them into iconic examples of askewedness. Perhaps someone from there can enlighten us.
I wonder if the “galley-west” corruption of “colley-west” might be influenced by “galley,” the kitchen on a ship. Perhaps the speakers are thinking about a ship being knocked cockeyed by a wave so that its galley was disarranged. Or perhaps the wave rotated the ship in the wrong direction (west?).
Note the play on words from Mr Harrison, from 1587, first describing his countrie men’s getups as collie weston ward, and then that they were as comely as a dog in a doublet.
Last edited by burred (2011-03-20 23:21:15)
Chances are it was some obscure story or joke about a man from Collyweston that triggered the saying. Joke was forgotten, phrase was not.