Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I can find absolutely nothing on the web to substantiate this, but I’ll post it anyway.
There’s the word “cockamamy” (stress on the first syllable) which means “ridiculous.” Then, there’s the word “cacophony” (stress on the second syllable) which means “harsh sound.” I could swear that sometime, somewhere I heard the neologism “cockaphony” (stress on the first syllable) as a replacement for “cockamamy.” It might even have taken on the combined notion of “cockamamy” + “phony.”
Now, if we consider the word “cacophony” in the dictionary, an inattentive reader may completely ignore the intended stress on the second syllable. Then, with the stress placed on the first syllable, the same inattentive reader may believe “cacophony” to be an adjective meaning “harsh sounding” (rather than “harsh sound”). So, “cockaphony excuses” might be interpreted as excuses that insult ones senses. Perfectly logical, right?
But alas, I can’t find any validation of this theory on the internet. Has anyone else had a similar experience, or is this the most cockaphony eggcorn ever?
Joe, I’ve heard cacophony pronounced ‘cackaphony’ with the stress on the first syllable but as ‘cockamamy’ is a bit of a rarity over here I’m sure there’s no relationship. Equally frequently I’ve heard the word stressed normally but with the first two vowels transposed – ‘cocaphony’ yields 263 unique hits and may have some influence on your ‘cockaphony.’ Finally – isn’t it strange how we feed off one another – there are a number of apparently genuine hits for ‘cacoughony’, which is surely eggcornish?
Peter, “cacoughony” sounds like a good one. See what you can dig up. I like the fact that “cough” is conveyed as part of the harsh sound.
“Cockamamie/cockamamy,” a US slang word for crazy/silly, probably comes from decalcomania, a term for a fad (mania) in the 1860s to do what the French called “décalquer.” Decalcing was transferring a design from specially prepared and dampened paper to a hard surface, such as glass or porcelain (compare the modern vogue for transfer tattoos).
At least a dozen sites on the web substitute “crockamamie/crockamamy,” inserting the “crock” that is found in the phrase “it’s a bunch of crock,” where “crock” means “nonsense” and may come from the idea of cracked and broken crockery as rubbish. A few of the substitutions could be intentional puns, but I don’t think all of them are.
: “Every crockamamie ‘in waiting’ theory out there is fatally flawed, because it assumes that Currie is effing stupid. ”
: “Why should Flames owners like Doc Seaman and Harley Hotchkiss (both of whom are WWII veterans) have to participate in some crockamamie ticket challenge to “out-patriot” others?”
: “It doesn’t matter what some crockamamy website says about the product.”
At least a dozen sites on the web substitute “crockamamie/crockamamy,” inserting the “crock” that is found in the phrase “it’s a bunch of crock,” where “crock” means “nonsense” and may come from the idea of cracked and broken crockery as rubbish.
I have always assumed that referring to something phony or silly as “a crock” was a polite shortening of the common phrase “a crock of shit”. Is “a crock of shit” rare or unknown in your neck of the woods, kem?