Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
This one is either a straight out eggcorn, or maybe an eggcorn frappé of “the vote is still out on that” and “that boat has sailed”. With hints of “my ship has (not yet) come in”?
With hints of “my ship has (not yet) come in”?
Curious. I wonder whether the snowclone “come in number ( ), your time is up” may be exerting some influence here?
On your devils advocate thown down: my take is that “boat has sailed” and “vote is still out” are complete opposite, so I don’t think there is confusion between the 2.
So someone doing a substitution would have a completely psychotic appreciation of the meaning of either and/or both…
Which of course is possible, so need to search for context to verify…
Tons of relevant/supportive hit on googling “the boat is still out on that one” – I really didn’t think it would be that overwhelming!
Wanted to clarify—I think it is more than a substitution – I think there are connotations about the boat being out there in the great unknown ocean, thus the fate not being established, thus linking it to “vote is out” in the “to be determined” meaning . But in my opinion there is a different angle here. Where the “vote is out” means a result is inevitable, “the boat is still out” has a more indeterminate aspect, there the boat could actually never come in… thus the novel meaning required of eggcorn.
So you’re arguing that the widespread nature of this one indicates that it’s a straight eggcorn, and the contrary meaning of “that ship has sailed” make it unlikely that it is in the mix. I agree with you.
The way I understand it, the need for eggcorns to have a novel meaning applies just to the means of getting there and not to the final destination. That is, the “vote >> boat” substitution, each of which can be understood to mean the same thing metaphorically, is sufficient. If there are extra connotations associated with it being a boat, they’re just icing on the cake.
Yes, thank you David – As you said, “novel path” is really what is required, and it seems to be there, and I intended to get that across.
But I was actually also throwing out there a “novel meaning” hypothesis. On further consideration, I’m grasping a bit on that one… it would be very difficult to settle the issue without surveying each person, to figure out if that distinction I was positing is actually out there in anyone’s head…