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#1 2008-02-18 18:55:48

Fuzzy
Member
Registered: 2008-02-18
Posts: 1

"Repel" for "Rappel"

This one is particularly vexing for me because it made it all the way into the 3rd-edition Dungeons and Dragons books. All throughout the climbing section, they talk about “repelling down walls”. I suspect that the association is a combination of the odd spelling, the sound-alike qualities, and because a common rapelling technique involves pushing off of the rock (to some degree, “repelling yourself” from the rock) to move laterally or to bypass an outcrop below.

_ Incidentally, greetings everyone, newcomer here. Came via Common Errors in English site (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html)

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#2 2008-02-20 17:33:11

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

Welcome, Fuzzy.

As you are no doubt aware, eggcorns are generally defined as reshapings or substitutions in which a semantically (more) appropriate element replaces an opaque one. Your analysis of “repelling down walls” (“a common rapelling technique involves pushing off of the rock”) certainly seems to fit.

While it is of course impossible to know what was in the mind of the writer/editor who used the term, your explanation seems entirely likely. Nice find!

Given the impossibility of seeing into minds, eggcornistas frequently use less direct evidence to support their analyses. You provide some of the material for such an analysis in your post – a three-word quote from Dungeons and Dragons books. Slightly more context might help make this even clearer (and a more explicit description of the book, such as its title, publisher, etc., will make you sound more scholarly).

Another common and relatively easy means of gathering evidence is the Google search. For example, when I enter “repelling down” (in quotation marks) into Google, I receive about 13,700 raw hits. Nine of the first ten results seem to have intended “rappel,” a judgment I base on references to rock climbers, commandos, shafts, cliffs etc. (One of the results seems not to refer to rappelling, but to “repelling down-hole fluids.”) This suggests that rappel >> repel is a fairly common reshaping.

I include representative Google search results:

Rock Climber Repelling Down Cliff picture by Ingram Publishing.
http://www.fotosearch.com/IMP170/ingseyfs0337/

After repelling down a 165-foot shaft, students had to crawl through the secondary passages inside Moaning Cavern, Jan 25.
http://my.hsj.org/ca/fresno/fchs/articl … aid=164310

A successful surfactant for repelling a fluid needs to be at least somewhat soluble in the fluid, but should be sufficiently insoluble to have an effective working life under the expected working conditions. The compound selected for repelling down-hole fluids such as oil and water should have a balance
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/54400 … ption.html

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#3 2011-11-22 00:34:59

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

I’m resurrecting this old thread because I have just discovered this eggcorn for the first time: “This helicopter-repelling demonstration was part of King Abullah’s ‘show of force’...” (from a caption accompanying a picture of men descending from a helicopter by rope, from an article in Vice magazine, volume 18, number 6). I think it’s good for a chuckle.

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#4 2011-11-22 00:59:00

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

Oh, you mean absailing.

I did add a line at the end about absailing …which is what Aussies call the descent (in the US it’s called repelling).
http://cyndygreen.wordpress.com/2007/10 … roo-point/

I have to admit that repelling makes a whole lot more sense to me than “rappelling”, which is completely opaque. The latter means “call again, recall, remember” ... what’s that got to do with it?

Wiktionary says abseiling is from German abseilen, from ab- (“down”) + Seil (“rope”).

Let’s get rid of that obtrusive ab.

One of the activities we will participate in is called upsailing down a castle wall. We call it repelling in America.
travel blog

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#5 2011-11-22 01:23:39

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

David Bird wrote:

I have to admit that repelling makes a whole lot more sense to me than “rappelling”, which is completely opaque. The latter means “call again, recall, remember” ... what’s that got to do with it?

My dictionary says that it’s ”...in the sense ‘bring back to oneself’ (with reference to the rope maneuver).”

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#6 2011-11-23 19:31:29

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

Enjoy a camel.

Enjoy tracks in the desert, up-sailing, jeep tours, bike rides, or a camel
Resort activities in Israel

On a hunch … to go abs sailing, you need abs of steel.

After the rock climbing which was such an amazing experience we went on to do abs sailing, abs is quite easy but our rock was really steep
http://bonkersforeternity.tumblr.com/po … story-time

Other reshapings in that one: the instructor in Cyprus was called “the lovely Andrious”. To go abs sailing, you had to gear up with helmet and “harnest”.

NEXT MORNING….wake up at 5.30am get ready to shower than meet camp cheif at hall…..than grp by grp camp cheif dismiss us for breakfast…...after tat….we go abs sailing....very fun tat one but soo damp scary...
Camping blog

Next, ab-sailing (or repelling) down a 200 foot cliff. Any time you dangle your weight over a cliff with a harness and a piece of rope as your only line to safety, that is scary. So, 45 nervous students and adult leaders reared their dairyaires over the precipice and descended into emptiness.
Leadership camp

She told me (in an American accent), “I thought abseiling is like tandem bungy jumping, you know, something you do with an instructor, hence Ab Sailing ” It’s not until a minute later that I figured out that she literally meant sailing on someone else’s tummy (abs)!! :/
Semantics insight in second person account

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#7 2011-11-23 21:17:27

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2101

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

dairyaires

Would someone please not explain this to me?

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#8 2011-11-23 22:09:10

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

I sh-udder to think.

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#9 2011-11-23 22:43:24

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

Re: "Repel" for "Rappel"

I assume “dairyaires” has something to do with the “bungy” in “bungy jumping”. Whether I want to think about it any more than that depends on whose bungy we’re talking about.

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