Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Nibbling at the web this morning, I came across the first hit below, describing the possibility that a tiny lizard might be living in the dense herbage of one’s eye browse. Barbers are just browsers after all, clipping off the growing extremities of your tangled bank (and middle age is the point where hair stops growing on your head yet sprouts verdantly from your nose, ears and browse). Come to think of it, browsing the web is a potential hidden eggcorn, implicating your fuzzy or furrowed brows.
Edit: I wondered how the perps would cope with one eyebrow. Looks like they don’t.
Last edited by burred (2012-02-19 11:02:38)
We also have “highbrow” for “eyebrow.” High over the eyes?
: “Scar on my face is tiny, it is over left highbrow near middle.”
: “Johanna’s face backed as she raised her left highbrow.”
: “Bobby raised his right highbrow as he stood by and watch”
These people may be borrowing under the table from the word “highbrow,” derived from “highbrowed,” an adjective describing something superior, intellectually exalted. “Highbrow/highbrowed” spawned “lowbrow,” meaning base, unrefined, intellectually vapid.
Using “highbrow” to mean cultured is a bit odd if the “brow” part refers to the airstrip of hair over the eye. Do cultured people really have higher brows? Perhaps “highbrow” is a calque for the Latin word for the eyebrow, supercilium, that gave us “supercilious.” Alternately, “brow” may refer to the forehead. As the OED notes, over the years “eyebrow” has lifted its referent: “From the eye-lashes, the [word “eyebrow”] appears to have been transferred step by step to the eye-lids, the eye-brows, the prominences of the forehead, and finally to the forehead as a whole.” High foreheads have a traditional association with intelligence (apologies to Neanderthal readers of this post).