Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Ken Lakritz’s “commute with nature” sent me looking for this one. 100+ ghits. Some of the instances may be spellchecker artifacts, but the authors of the first example below clearly meant to write “commutable” rather than “communicable.” These days, the most common meaning of “to commute” has to do with travel – especially in the company of lots of other people – and this meaning seems to have been generalized in this phrase; along the way, this intransitive sense of “commute” (the verb also comes in a transitive flavor with very different meanings) appears to have become transitive in conformity with “to communicate a disease.” Examples:
Shouldn’t this highly commutable disease HPV be the primary focus of sex education? [...] Mothers infected with HPV do commute HPV to their unborn children (Walling,1999).
Kitty speaks to Dr. Laurene Mascola, chief of the Acute Commutable Disease Control Unit for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to see how the California state and county plans are coming together.
http://www.scpr.org/programs/talkcity/l … 1202.shtml
Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Outbreaks and Commutable Disease Control Measures in Japan
http://www.apo-tokyo.org/projreps_acd/0 … SEM-09.htm
He utterly reeks
of sour from the years
of planted mildew. Rags grow
some probable commutable disease—
-“probable” serves no purpose hear and should be cut
http://www.everypoet.org/pffa/showthrea … adid=11033
[In the final example, the poet appears to have gone back and changed “commutable” to “communicable,” but the original form is fossilized in another poster’s critique.]