Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Hi – I’m new here. I see a lot of these in student papers and had no idea this web page existed until recently.
I’ve heard this phrase once from a child and saw it in a student paper last year and the usages were similar. The student paper was something like this:
“The patient reported stomach pains and gi distress. He said he’s very careful with his food and never eats food that’s spoiled or smells funny. His regular lunch is soup made at home and kept hot in his furnace bottle until lunch.”
The student who wrote this wasn’t sure what the patient was saying and asked them to spell it, and got “f-u-r-n-a-c-e”. This patient used his “Thermos Bottle” (trademark) only to keep things hot, as opposed to keeping any substance insulated at any temperature, so referred to it as a “furnace bottle”.
would this qualify as an eggcorn?
It sure would. (In my humble opinion.)
very definitely, that’s an eggcorn—complete w/ spelling!
(though, interestingly, Thermos has lost its pure trademark status, if I remember rightly, due to a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case Ty, Incorporated v. Perryman, Ruth (case 02-1771).
from the judge’s opinion:
as “thermos,” “yo-yo,” “escalator,” “cellophane,” and
“brassiere” started life as trademarks, but eventually lost
their significance as source identifiers and became the
popular names of the product rather than the name of
the trademark owner’s brand, and when that happened
continued enforcement of the trademark would simply
have undermined competition with the brand by making
it difficult for competitors to indicate that they were selling
the same product—by rendering them in effect speechless.
However, I’m betting Thermos has been trying to keep that from affecting them.