Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
The “Eggcorn of the week” on Language Log yesterday was . Mark Liberman assesses it as not very poetic since it looks like a substitution of suffixes, from _-en_ to _-er_. In the discussion, the possibility is raised that it is a blend with “temper the enthusiasm”. Then a series of comments are made about the confusion of dampen and damp as verbs. It appears that the two words with quite different senses are derived from a single root, meaning “vapours”. In mining, the vapours known as blackdamp or choke-damp will extinguish flames and miners.
The blend can go further, into a form that leaves no doubt about the water content. There are about a dozen of these out there. Must be a mix of “put a damper on”, “dampen”, and “throw cold water on”.