Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I’m nearing 70. My wife has just agreed to buy me some elderlyflower cordial.
Oh no ….
I love “elderlyflower cordial”. This could really catch on. So far there are about 15 unique hits on Google for ‘elderlyflower’, and another 6 for ‘elderlyberry’. But a cordial is supposed to be good for the heart; be sure to share it with good company. Maybe it will do you some good, Alan. But probably not, since it has those more or less anonymous attributes of being diaphoretic and diuretic. So is beer. So is water. Do the elders like us really need to sweat and pee more? Add some vodka as a pharmacological booster.
I’m particularly interested in this one because I know the elderberry well. We lived on it, mostly in the form of pancakes, when the Sambucus nigra tree in our yard was bearing fruit in the deepest heart of the Slocan Valley of British Columbia during the lost years of my yoot. The black elder is not native to North America; it may have been imported from eastern Europe by one of the Russian immigrants (Doukhobors, or ‘spirit wrestlers’) who colonized the area.
Etymologically, the elder tree was originally an eller. The alder, which was first an alor, received an “intrusive d” in the 14th c., and the elder followed suit not long after. We could call those anglicisations; they look very much like folk etymologies.