Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
You are not logged in.
Registrations are currently closed because of a technical problem. Please send email to
The forum administrator reserves the right to request users to plausibly demonstrate that they are real people with an interest in the topic of eggcorns. Otherwise they may be removed with no further justification. Likewise, accounts that have not been used for posting may be removed.
Thanks for your understanding.
Chris -- 2018-04-11
I got an e-mail today from the receptionist in my office, saying that the telephone repairman had found that an inside line was “shotty” and would have to be replaced soon. She also left me a voicemail in which she used the same word. A cross between “shot” and “shoddy”?
Googling “shotty” produces a bunch of fascinating usages. One blogger claimed “shotty” as his own coinage. He was having a “shotty” day—a shitty day that was also shot. “Shotty” is also a shotgun; the front passenger (shotgun?) seat in a car; a word you use to call “dibs” on the front seat; and a technique for smoking a joint or blunt. There are definitely some users who are substituting “shotty” for “shoddy,” as in “shotty formatting.”
Nice post—I was unaware of all those other usages of “shotty.”
One line that jumped out for me was the one in which you said the receptionist used the same word on the phone. In the typical speech of us Californians, “shotty” and “shoddy” would be homophones. Do people audibly distinguish between them in MA?
It hadn’t occurred to me previously, but this eggcorn occurs in reverse among doctors:Lymph nodes are properly described as ‘shotty’ when they’re small and hard, i.e., when they feel to an examiner like buckshot under the skin. But ‘shotty’ is a peculiar word, so many doctors and medical students think (and write) ‘shoddy lymph nodes.’
Great Eggcorn, FB!
I am sure the shotty/shoddy connection is valid. One other far-out origin possibility, however: In a Massachusetts-type accent, if the repairman said SHORTY (meaning the telephone line had electrical shorts), would it not sound almost the same as the way he would say SHOTTY or SHODDY?
I don’t know whether it helps but the expression ‘shot’ is often used used in this context eg “It’s not worth saving – it’s shot”. Add a wee suffix and there we are. But it doesn’t feel right, so I think we aren’t after all.
Hi! It’s me, Fishbait, on another computer. . .
To answer Pat’s question—I would say that the pronunciations of “shotty” and “shoddy” are not really distinct in my speech. I’m a native New Yorker, not a Bostonian. But I heard the voice mail before I saw the e-mail, and was struck then by the pronunciation “shotty.” I’ll have to find out where the receptionist is from. She’s an educated young lady, but speaks with the “Valley Girl” fronting (I think that’s what it is) that is pretty much standard among people her age (early 20’s).
I noticed “shotty” as a diagnostic description on Google, Klakritz, and intended to mention it.
For this deep, fascinating find, maybe we should call you “SHADbait.” (Git it?)
Another variation on this theme is the word shady, in the sense of questionable or fishy.(!) Shady’s meaning is pretty close to shoddy and shitty. Perhaps this use of shady does not come from shade any more than shoddy comes from shod. W.W.T.P.I.E.S? What would the Proto Indo Europeans say?
Last edited by Tom Neely (2006-09-14 14:16:33)
Two points: The receptionist is from Massachusetts; and no, Tom, “shorty” in Mass-speak doesn’t sound anything like “shotty,” although it’s a clever speculation. I wish I had the IPA-chops to illustrate this, but I don’t.
Lymph nodes are appropriately declared as ‘shotty’ if they’re baby and hard, i.e., if they feel to an examiner like armament beneath the skin. But ‘shotty’ is a appropriate word, so abounding doctors and medical acceptance anticipate (and write) ‘shoddy lymph nodes.’
Last edited by rs_shadow0000 (2009-07-31 06:29:51)
I think that Shotty is very commonly used in describing the feel of lymph nodes (the lymph glands) when they are palpated (felt) through the skin. “Shotty” lymph nodes are ones that are not only hard and round but also small and surely of no consequence.
Last edited by jZel_silent (2009-11-07 21:12:31)
Here’s the one I stumbled upon today while looking for a different eggcorn:
Simply put it can’t be taken seriously, shotty journalism at its worst.
discussion of an article
The substitution of “shotty” for “shoddy” is obvious. Conceivably the perp is picturing something shot through with holes (including holes in logic) or other faults. It’s also possible some who use this substitution are assuming it was invented as a euphemism for “shitty”, as “darn” is for “damn”.