Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
The word “unsullied,” after , has seen a recent uptick, largely due to its new status in George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones novels and the popular TV adaption of the series. In these books and films, “unsullied” is a nominalized adjective denoting a caste of castrated warriors. Did Martin appropriate the dying term for his medieval fantasies because of its antique feel?
“Sully,” like “soil,” ultimately backtracks to the Latin term for “pig.” Those who write “unsullied” as “unsillied” have purged the porker for a term that has also learned to wallow in the mire. “Silly,” starting out as an exalted term (happy/blessed— cf. German selig), hangs out nowadays with fools, muddleheads, and dullards.
Examples of “unsillied” for “unsullied:”
: “ah, to be young and idealistic, fresh from the Liberal haven of an ivy league university, unsillied by the truth about the world and the facts of life”
: “ it creates nice unsillied look and give us the feeling of fresheness and optimism.”
: “Active, cheerful, helpful and un- electrlcal are Vic ’ s most prominent traits, still unsillied by grey fringe”
: “She [Mary] found favor with Him not only because she had kept her virginity inviolate, but also because she maintained her desires unsillied ”