Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
The roots of impudent are in shame, and impotent in power.
It seems like in the direction of using impotent instead of impudent may be because of thinking of children as powerless, rather than shamelessly misbehaving:
“Mr Z is an impotent kid so people should not read much in what he says.”
“Impotent little boy is off his meds.” (Perhaps he forgot to take his Viagra.)
(political blog) “More shameless impotence by the Democratic Judiciary Committee stooges.”
“It’s easier too be polite than impotent and rude.”
I don’t know if I have a good eggcorn rationalization for use of impudence instead of impotence:
(political message board) “Hillary remains the most unattractive female in the world. She could singlhandedly reduce the world population by causing male impudence.”
(humor site) “Study: Vegetables May Cause Impudence”
“My husband is an acholohlic can it make him impudent?”
My great-grandmother and others of her generation used to pronounce impertinent and impertinence as impotent and impotence. Perhaps some folk still do so – it would account for larrybob’s first few examples, though not the return-trippers of course.