Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I recently stumbled across this in a comment thread about serial killers: ”...he had the demeanor of a young adolescent who had been sent to the principal’s office: he averted our eyes while looking nervously around the room, slightly slumped in his chair and fidgeting.” “Averted” here is obviously an eggcornish substitution for “avoided”.
Googling “he averted our eyes” yielded only 4 hits, 3 of which were the eggcorn:
...his voice turned husky as he averted our eyes and looked downat the ground.
He averted our eyes and began to forget how to stand up when sitting.
I could tell by the way he averted our eyes that he wasn’t telling us everything.
Oddly, the example I initially stumbled upon didn’t show up in the Google search (and why would that be?), so these 3 aren’t the only examples that exist. And I’m sure that googling variations such as “he averted their eyes” or whatever would yield a few more hits. Probably there are other “avert”/”avoid” substitutions that have nothing to do with eyes, too. But it’s interesting to me that, while this is clearly a real eggcorn, it’s quite rare. Maybe we’ve gotten in on the ground floor of this one?
You may be right that “avert” in these example is a replacement for “avoid.” The differences in sound would make it more like a classic malaprop than an eggcorn.
It is also possible that the users do mean “avert.” We still use avert with non-self-referential objects (e.g., avert disaster).
Last edited by kem (2013-01-10 17:17:18)