Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Looking at variations such as “tow the line” on this site inspired me to google “toad the line”. Of the 94 purportedly unique hits, only a few appeared to be eggcorns as opposed to puns. Examples:
After a few hard blows with the shocking hammer the draught horse toad the line and gave no further trouble! [from an account of a blacksmith shoeing a recalcitrant horse]
He’s promised to toad the line this time. [from a contentious discussion in a car enthusiasts’ chat room]
I must know that I toad the line when it came to this challenge, whatever danger I might place myself in from coolly-clad pooch-protected dough-ladies.
Though the last example seems to indicate that the woman who wrote it confuses “toad the line” with “held the line”, the first two are more consistent with a substitution of “toad” for “toed” (in the first example) and “toe” (in the second). Possible eggcornish meaning-confusion could be based on the submission implied by the word “toady” or by a more general impression of toads being lowly. I think “toad the line” is a real live eggcorn!
Submit to the line? submit the line to something? I don’t get anything clearly enough to want to call it an eggcorn, as opposed to an amusing spelling-malapropism with confusion in some cases about what the d ending is good for.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Submit to the line?...I don’t get anything clearly enough to want to call it an eggcorn…
I would suggest that submitting to the authority of whoever tells us not to cross the line (in other words, toeing the line) could be thought of as submitting to the line. If so, that’s a clear eggcornish meaning-connection, isn’t it?