Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I’ve come across several inventive substitutions lately. I can’t convince myself, however, that they are eggcorns, Thought I might try these to the Forum. Perhaps someone out there can make me a believer.
(1) “Enbombed” for “entombed.” Found on a non-trivial number of web sites. Example:
: “A hopeless African President. He is mentally trapped and enbombed in the African mental darkness.”
(2) “Landskip” for “landscape.” According to the OED, the word “landscape” was introduced into English as a technical painting term. Until the end of the 1600s, “landskip” seems to have been a more common spelling than “landscape.” It’s still used today by those wanting to spice their speech with archaisms. One wonders if the spelling “landskip” might have been, in its , the home of a hidden eggcorn, concealing some reference to a fast move across a swath of land.
(3) “Second guest” for “second guessed.” An appalling number of these substitutions on the web. Examples:
: “My question to you on this forum if you are a instructor or not when you was coming up through the ranks where you allow to question your instructor, second guest him or did you do what they ask you to do. ”
: “I found myself wondering at one point if the child’s father was the same as the General, and trying to second guest the motives of the priest as well.”
: “It’s a quite cynical concept, really, having to second guest the ignorance of the general public.”
(4) “Common” for “comma.” This may just be one of Pat’s WTF typos, followed by poor proofing. But I wonder…. Examples:
: “Put a common after the publisher’s name”
: “ In your little paragraph above, you did not put a common after Zach’s name, ”
: “you need to put a common after the italized part ”
Last edited by kem (2013-03-22 23:09:57)
Common for comma makes all kinds of sense to me. It is the lowliest of the punctuators, less strong or outstanding than the period, which is the only other one that rivals it for commonality in the sense of frequency. I’d bet quite a bit that this is an eggcorn for a number of its users. The contexts where you cited it are unlikely to be careless typos. (I nominate this one for the end of the year list, in fact.)
The “second guest” one is a a puzzle. I have a few related examples collected, e.g. “he guest that he had probably heard their conversation”, or “her aunt invited her guessed to sit, and rang for refreshments”. I don’t see a clear meaning connection here, though, so I agree, no eggcorn. Yet it nags at me. Is guessing involved in the fact that those one invites are usually in some degree, often a large degree, unknown? Is a thought that you entertain a guest? Are these really nothing but spelling errors, with no semantic overlap whatsoever? Can’t quite convince myself.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-03-23 22:18:00)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Possible eggcornish meaning-connection for “second guest”: The first guest says something, then the second guest joins the conversation and corrects what has gone before. It’s related to the imagery of the joke “The early bird gets the worm, but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese”. (The first mouse is caught in the trap; the second one avoids his error.) Someone correcting someone else would necessarily be (at least) the second person to weigh in on the issue under discussion. The implication in “second guessed” is not just that the guess was second; the person doing it is usually (at least) second, too. Thus, “second guest”.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
When I looked, almost all cases of “second guest” were identical in sense to “second guess”, suggesting that it’s a mondegreen or spelling mistake. Not all are spelling, however. Here’s an example where second guest is used in awareness of the meaning of guest. It’s a strange play on words that unfortunately does not reveal the originator’s understanding of “second guest”.