Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
There is an obscure piece of furniture that is burned into the American psyche through its role as a MacGuffin in To Kill A Mockingbird. You may know which one I’m talking about – the chifforobe.
The earliest mention of a chifforobe in Google Books is from a 1902 Sears and Roebuck catalogue. The word is a somewhat ungainly portmanteau that amalgamates a chiffonier, which is a tall thin chest of drawers, from the French for “piece of cloth”, and a wardrobe, to guard your robes. The chifforobe as a name for this piece of furniture exists chiefly in the Southern States, according to the AHD, but the circumstances of its use in Harper Lee’s story has placed it into much wider consciousness. It even shows up in the Urban Dictionary as a conceit for miscegenation.
Booboo points to the chifforobe in the Words that have fallen out of favor thread. A shift a robe or shiftrobe is an elegant, transparent alternative to the opaque original. The shift could be between hanging and folding your clothes, for example, or between the two sides of the thing.
“FLA classified (snippet)”
1940,s Dresser/with matching mirror and shiftarobe good cond. Location: Englewood
As far as storage there’s a closet (one of those small old house closets), a shift robe, an armoire, and a changing table/dresser that has yet to be purchased. [...] This shiftrobe was my grandmother’s when she was a child.
A place for Arnold or Claudia to store her robes.
Made for shipping.
Barbie has an antique pink and white Chippendale Chipperobe.
The chaperobe keeps an eye on your underthings.
Sometimes a refrigerator was called a frigidaire, the name of a manufacturer. The knuckleheaded argument for this was “it’s a frigidaire, it says so right on the door!” I recall the older people referring to a certain piece of furniture called a “chaperobe” (never saw it written); it was sort of a free-standing closet with two doors
I will force you to store your skintight vinyl in this chafe robe.
Edit: I think I meant latex.
Last edited by burred (2012-05-09 11:12:25)