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#1 2013-09-13 03:36:07

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2036

range free eggs, pitfall of my stomach

A couple of verbal missteps that have come across my desk lately – not eggsactly eggcorns, but interesting.

(1) “Free range eggs” is confusing enough as it stands. Are the eggs free, or is the range free? But some speakers take the confusion a step further, reversing the modifiers to yield the expression “range free eggs/chickens.”

Facebook page title: “Organic Pumpkins and Range Free Eggs being Produced”

Forum post: “I think the farmers market is your best bet for fresh range free eggs.”

“Range free eggs” seems to mean the opposite of what the speaker intends, though putting a comma between the modifiers (“range, free eggs”) gives some sense: the eggs, they may be saying, are products of a free environment, a range where chickens can run.

In some cases, the “range free” reversal may be catalyzed by the parallel expression “cage free eggs.” Several web pages link these terms:

Cooking blog: “What are cage free and range free eggs?”

(2) A friend of mine recently referred to the “pitfall of her stomach.” She is not alone – others have fallen into the same gastronomic trap:

Fan fiction: “He ignored the pitfall of his stomach, he ignored the glare, half-angry, half-annoyed from Artie, he ignored the frantic buzzing of a cellphone from his pocket”

Gaming site: “Our views may differ; for me, this was the catalyst that made me pay attention again to that deep, throbbing ache way down in the Pitfall of my stomach, ”

Some kind of blending seems to be happening in this expression. The pit of the stomach is the little hollow, the epigastric fossa, that is just below the sternum. The locus is considered a seat of sensation, especially of fear. Like the heart, it can figuratively fall, though it’s usually the whole stomach, not the pit above it, that plunges, as when we say “my stomach fell” (i.e., I felt extreme nervousness, disappointment). A “pitfall” is an old (14th century) word for a trap with a falling door, these days employed mostly as a metaphor for a hidden danger. The mash of “pitfall” and “pit of my stomach” into “pitfall of my stomach” recalls the shared context of danger and fear of danger in the two expressions.

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#2 2013-09-13 15:06:10

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: range free eggs, pitfall of my stomach

Wonderful stuff, Kem.

But some speakers take the confusion a step further, reversing the modifiers to yield the expression “range free eggs/chickens.”

I’m sure there’s a “pattern pressure” effect here; the strongly entrenched “NOUN-free FOODITEM” construction (pattern) tends to coerce anything with a “free-NOUN FOODITEM” pattern to fit its mold.
(Gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free, lactose-free, etc., vs. what examples other than “free-range eggs”?) But you’re right that the effect is to say the opposite of what you mean.

The pit of the stomach is the little hollow, the epigastric fossa, that is just below the sternum. The locus is considered a seat of sensation, especially of fear.

This surprised me. I had always considered it to be the corresponding inside curve at the bottom of the stomach, the place where the dregs of the digestive processes carried out in the stomach might be expected to accumulate. I wonder if both interpretations have been around a long time, and is there good evidence which was first?

The mash of “pitfall” and “pit of my stomach” into “pitfall of my stomach” recalls the shared context of danger and fear of danger in the two expressions.

Yes, it is a beautiful thing.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#3 2013-09-13 17:21:50

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1148

Re: range free eggs, pitfall of my stomach

No one knows for sure everything, what God says, chickens are to eat? I have to assume then, that it’s the free rein fowls only, know what is best for them to eat. Since they are free, they feed on all the necessary things. That is what makes their eggs and flesh become rich in protein, and very good for human consumption. For the same reason mentioned, many people breed and rear them. However, let me first say this! Free rein chickens are not very easy to rear, they have two great enemies; I call them chicken thieves.
http://books.google.ca/books?id=LuRTAAA … 22&f=false

you do know you can buy free rein eggs right, it costs a dollar more but its better for the chickens
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index … 711AAN9hJ1

Free rein chickens have kicked off the traces. The eggcornosity of this one is slightly diminished by the presence, out there, of free reign eggs (a metacorn), free rain eggs (the downside of having free rein), and free arrange eggs.

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#4 2013-09-13 22:34:52

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2036

Re: range free eggs, pitfall of my stomach

Free rein chickens. If they run around too much, the eggs come out scrambled.

I’m sure you’re right, DavidT, about the noun-FREE influence. As to the exact meaning of pit of the stomach—likely it varies with the person. Dictionaries lean toward the upper stomach interpretation. E.g.this one It’s the place just above the solar plexus, so a punch in the pit leaves you gasping a bit.

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#5 2013-09-14 02:02:21

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-12
Posts: 1686
Website

Re: range free eggs, pitfall of my stomach

Occurs to me that the verb range and the notion of the hens ranging=running free could easily enough be active in perps’ minds. If it is, this is an eggcorn for them.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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