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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2008-10-14 14:39:07

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2589

hoist upon << foist upon

Yesterday a friend called my attention to a phrase he had seen in a local Ontario newspaper (The Peterborough Examiner). The line read “This election was kind of hoisted upon the public.” (The article with this phrase is in the web version of the paper at … ?e=1243982). The newspaper was quoting a Trent University professor.

What the good professor should have said, of course, was that the election was foisted upon the public. The verb “foist” is now found almost exclusively in the idiom “foist upon.” The idiom refers to compelling someone to accept a thing or an idea that they would not normally want.

I discussed the etymology of “foist” and some of the interactions between “foist upon” and “foster on” in a post from a couple of months ago ( … hp?id=3113). Damien Hall posted a short notice about one hoist/foist substitution on the American Dialectic Society elist in 2006 ( … &S=&P=2077)

A quick scan of web sites with the phrase “hoist upon” shows that the confusion between “hoist upon” and “foist upon” is surprisingly common. Four of the dozens of examples I found are below. I think some cases of the substitution may be eggcorns. “Hoisting upon” could suggest raising a flag of ownership, or it could suggesting boosting an idea or a product into someone else’s space. Both pictures would be consistent with the semantics of “foisting.”

A blog entry: “It’s not even so much the means of communication I disagree or the even semi-fascist manner in which the information is hoisted upon the public….” (

Post in response to a blog entry about a game: “I’m sure most non-überbeardy players would consent to a well-presented and characterful army breaking some of the more extreme limitations hoisted upon us by new editions of Codices.” ( … 16878.html)

A complaint about Latter Day Saints’ merchandizing: “You won’t believe the tacky tripe and preposterous products being hoisted upon the sheep by their shepherds. ” (

Customer review of a book: “Nothwithstanding, I do know that the ‘White- queen-goddess’ was hoisted upon the Black race through slavery and can understand why Toni may want to address that misnomer in this tome.” (

Last edited by kem (2008-10-14 17:08:18)

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



#2 2012-12-31 01:26:29

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1265

Re: hoist upon << foist upon

I just encountered this one for the first time. I was doing a Google search on “hoist by his own retard”, and found

In 2011, do we listen to the demonstrably failed policies above hoisted on us by the Republicans and the Tea Partiers?



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