Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
On the CE-L (copyediting listserv), an editor asked about the use of “sad sap” in the manuscript she was working on. “Sad sap” appears to be a common enough expression now, but I’m wondering if it might be a reanalysis of “sad sack” based on a mishearing of “sack” as “sap,” a mishearing that might have come about owing to the fact that “sack” doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you know that it’s short for a derogatory expression (and without the prepositional phrase that makes the expression derogatory, the stress pattern is different—the stress is on “sad” in “sad sack” but on “sack” in “sad sack of X,” making “sad sack” by itself even harder to parse).