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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2011-09-23 15:08:11

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2127

paving the wave << paving the way

An internet sports board has a charged discussion in the comments section about the expression “paving the wave.”

“Paving the wave” is an incredibly common permutation of “paving the way.” The rejigged phrase is a more a result of sound assimilation, I suspect, than meaning transference. Though the popularity of pomades (Brylcreem!) and styling gels in recent decades does suggest a possible semantic bridge.

“Paving the way” is an antique expression in English, going back at least four centuries. My personal image of the phrase has something to do with flow-on surfacing, but concrete and asphalt are modern road materials, hardly more than a century old. Chances are that the first users of “paving the way” constructed their analogy with paving stones.

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