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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-09-04 07:07:58

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 619

"cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

This one is apparently new to the Eggcorn Forum. From a personal email a friend sent me: “I have wondered why schizophrenia is so common amongst humans and have thought it might be like cycle cell anemia.”

rare blodd desease similar to cycle cell anemia

My Hero and baby sister Eryn…Living with Cycle Cell Anemia

The Most Helpful Tips To Cycle Cell Anemia To Look Out For

...if both alleles carry the mutation, the person has cycle-cell anemia…

That would mean that a person with cycle-cell anemia would get a dose of good genes and perhaps cure the disease.

Cycle Cell Anemia can shorten the life expectancy of human beings…

...two cases of cycle cell anemia in poor Algerian children…

A fairly common misusage and not just a misspelling. I think people could assume it’s really supposed to be “cycle cell” because it sounds like it could really be a medical or physiological term.

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#2 2011-09-04 12:10:28

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

Very nice! Sickle cell is endemic in countries with malaria, that other cyclic, grim-reaping, blood cell disease.

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#3 2011-09-04 21:19:13

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

I think it’s possible that there’s some eggcornishness in sickle>>cycle. But it’s also impossible to rule out misspelling. “Cycle” isn’t just a possible misspelling of “sickle,” it’s a very frequent one, with hundreds of ugh. (The fact that the second element of the very common word “bicycle” is pronounced just like “sickle” may throw off some people.) The following bizarre-but-common characterization of our president – who’s to the right of center for a Democrat – is just one example:

It’s your call fellow Republicans. Do it or live under the hammer and cycle of Obama.
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/more-2012-myths/

And the farmer in the next citation probably possesses a scythe rather than a Harley-Davidson:

But if you ever look at the main entrance of the Rockefeller Building in New York City you will see a worker with a hammer and a farmer with a cycle…..
http://mgc-theamericanfederalist.blogsp … rking.html

And then there’s the high contrast between the vowels in cycle and sickle, making the chances of conscious confusion between the meanings of “sickle” and “cycle” even slimmer.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2011-09-04 21:48:36)

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#4 2011-09-04 22:51:30

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 619

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

Point taken, Pat. I shouldn’t have ruled out simple misspelling so certainly.

patschwieterman wrote:

And then there’s the high contrast between the vowels in cycle and sickle, making the chances of conscious confusion between the meanings of “sickle” and “cycle” even slimmer.

I’m not claiming that anyone is confusing the meanings of the words “sickle” and “cycle”. I’m saying that “cycle cell anemia” could be taken as a meaningful medical term, rather than just a misspelling, because it sounds like a medical term (especially in view of the cyclic nature of some illnesses, as mentioned by burred above, and the use of the term cycle in various physiological processes, such as the Krebs cycle). IMHO, this meaningfulness of the term allows us to assume that it’s an eggcorn in some cases.

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#5 2011-09-05 07:44:52

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

I’m not claiming that anyone is confusing the meanings of the words “sickle” and “cycle”.

I agree with you—and that’s the problem. The point of my comment is that these two words sound very different—different enough that I believe the substitution would call too much attention to itself; the use of cycle for sickle seems really unlikely to me. I think this is usually a misspelling.

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#6 2011-09-05 08:45:51

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 619

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

patschwieterman wrote:

The point of my comment is that these two words sound very different—different enough that I believe the substitution would call too much attention to itself; the use of cycle for sickle seems really unlikely to me. I think this is usually a misspelling.

What you say makes sense, but is it really more likely that someone would misspell “sickle” as “cycle” than that they would mispronounce “sickle” as “cycle”? I can easily imagine poor spellers coming up with “sikle” or “sicle” or “cickle”, but “cycle”? Those pronunciations of “c” and “y” are less common than using “s” and “i” for those sounds, so I think it’s far more likely that someone would misspell “cycle” as “sickle” than vice versa. And besides, to go from one spelling to the other, they’d have to add or drop the “k”, too. Considering all the changes necessary to make “sickle” into “cycle”, it seems like an unlikely happenstance unless we assume some confusion of the two words, rather than just a misspelling. If it were just a misspelling, we’d expect to get at least as many unique google hits for “sikle cell” or “sicle cell” or “cickle cell” as for “cycle cell”, and we don’t—far from it (“sicle cell” = 346 hits, “sikle cell = 106, and “cickle cell” = 77). I agree with you that confusing the two pronunciations seems unlikely, but I think confusing the two spellings is nearly as unlikely, and yet, there it is. So I’m thinking that, in at least a few cases, someone generalized from the pronunciation of “cycle” in words like “bicycle” and “cyclic” and, thinking that “cycle cell” looked more medical than “sickle cell’, created an actual eggcorn.

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#7 2011-09-06 01:18:37

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

Well, it’s kind of entertaining to me that you and I are using pretty much the same evidence to come to very different conclusions. All these years of chasing reshapings online have left me with the strong conviction that while many online users of English are not very good spellers, they are often good at recognizing spelling patterns in English. When they encounter a certain sequence of sounds, some people will tend to spell that sequence in terms of the most common word that embodies that sequence—no matter how eccentric that particular spelling may seem when compared to the usual so-called rules. And I think we’ve run into one of those instances here: you don’t see references to sickles all that often (at least as compared to bicycles), so some people who are unsure naturally jump to a very common word that has the same sequence of sounds—“bicycle.” And the “cycle” in bicycle is one people see a lot, but they don’t see “sikle” or “sicle” or “cickle” very much at all. I would expect those to be less common misspellings. Your ugh data doesn’t persuade me that “cycle cell” isn’t a misspelling because they’re pretty much what I would have predicted if “cycle” were a misspelling.

I think the differences in ugh numbers are big enough in this case that you and I are right in assuming that “cycle cell” is far more common than its competing misspellings. I wish I knew just what lay behind Google’s measurements, however. I wouldn’t be confident, for instance, that a spelling that was pulling 450 ugh was more common than one pulling say 375; I’ve never found a clear explanation of where these numbers come from, so I think only big differences are really instructive.

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#9 2011-09-07 01:56:14

fpberger
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-16
Posts: 130

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

Also some other “sick” variants:

How is a person with sickacell anemia treated?

“I will pray for the Wiley family. Tonya was a great friend & her family is great people. Sickacell is a deadly disease. R.I.P. Tonya! “http://www.topix.com/forum/city/natchitoches-la/TLNHSDHP7UFIQV6B8

“We have fundraising drives for the American Cancer Society, Sicker Cell Anemia, the Black- burn Spencer Scholarship fund, NAACP, UNCF, and many others.”http://www.e-yearbook.com/yearbooks/Ohio_University_Athena_Yearbook/1988/Page_156.html

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#10 2011-09-07 01:59:04

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1166

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

Sick eggcorn, fp.

Dennis suffered from Sicko Cell Anemia or something of that nature
http://te-in.facebook.com/topic.php?uid … post=28911

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#11 2011-09-07 02:26:55

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 619

Re: "cycle cell" for "sickle cell"

patschwieterman wrote:

All these years of chasing reshapings online have left me with the strong conviction that while many online users of English are not very good spellers, they are often good at recognizing spelling patterns in English. When they encounter a certain sequence of sounds, some people will tend to spell that sequence in terms of the most common word that embodies that sequence—no matter how eccentric that particular spelling may seem when compared to the usual so-called rules. And I think we’ve run into one of those instances here…

Pat, you make a good case. You may be right.

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