Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Because my father was the 13th or 16th child in his family, I forget which, we refer to one of our cousins as Uncle Pudge. His children are not really my cousins then, but more properly they are my first cousins, once removed. The remove is a nouned verb, from way back in the early 17th, which in this case refers to the difference of one generation in distance from our grandparents. Here’s a funny misunderstanding of “once removed” I ran across:
Yea, it gets pretty complicated once you break that far out of the first circle of relatives, but now that I am reading it I realize that “Once Removed” is the term for a person who married in to the family before divorceing/widowing out and then marrying back in. I think the person meant second cousin.
So they were once removed, they were asked to return the keys, but now they’re back in.
This came up when I was looking for “widowing out” as an eggcorn of winnowing out but this hit is better—this guy thinks that you will “widow out” of the spouse’s family if he/she dies. Perfectly logical in a ruthless kin selection world, I guess.
That is a truly hilarious interpretation of “once removed.” Plays on the ambiguities in “removed,” but also the meanings of “once” as both formerly and singly.