Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
Since the mid-1990s, my friend and I have been trying to popularise what appear to be called “eggcorns” here. Only now have I come across this site!
We came up with the term “skellingtons” (or “skelingtons”) back then for pretty obvious reasons, much as was done with “eggcorns” *. The key to a skellington is that the subsitution:
a) should be a “new” word that doesn’t already exist (so not a malapropism – for example, giving “short shift” instead of “short shrift” isn’t a skellington, as the word “shift” already exists);
b) may have a “logical” basis for its creation;
b) will often betray a misconception about the term’s origin.
Last edited by Doctor Skellington (2016-01-09 14:00:08)
Apart from your criterion “a”, your criteria are quite consistent with the definition of “eggcorn” (though the necessity for pronunciation similarity between the “acorn” and the “eggcorn” was unmentioned). You and your friend may deserve recognition as pioneers in the study of what have come to be called eggcorns, as, if I’m not mistaken, your skellington studies predate the discussion of “eggcorns” by a few years. (Someone more familiar with the history may correct me on that.)
Welcome to the
Skellington Eggcorn Forum, Doc!
Eggcorns, of course, can be real words (e.g. “Fair’s” for “Ferris” in “Fair’s wheel), so they don’t quite match up with skellingtons on point (a).
I’m puzzled by the term “Skellington” as the name, however. Does “skellington” for “skeleton” have the logical base that you mention in point (b)? Or is “skellington,” unlike eggcorn, not an example of what it names?
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.