Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
As far as I know, there is no such word as “vipercated” in standard English (it’s not listed in the OED or any other dictionary I checked), but a number of people seem to think it exists as a term for the shape of a stereotypical devil’s tail.
Even a smooth-talking devil like me with a vipercated tongue can’t negotiate out this deal, so I decide to bolt for the trees where the Curmudgeon has vanished.
Colorado Flyfishing: Where to Eat, Sleep, Fish, by Mark D. Williams, W. Chad McPhail
Soon enough she will reveal her cloven hooves, horns, and vipercated tail.
Carpathian: An Event Group Thriller, by David L. Golemon
its called having your tongue vipercated or something along those lines
post by user “maximillion” on the topic “lizard tongue …” on The Forum Site: http://www.theforumsite.com/forum/topic … ue-/338134
A post that provides some interesting evidence that it would in fact be an eggcorn, not just a malapropism:
It isn’t a commonly used term, but that’s mainly because few people have actually heard it used often enough to even recognize it within their own vocabulary. Vipercated is the term used to describe two common shapes. One is the most widely accepted, cartoonish characterization of a devil’s tail. The other is the split tongue of a snake, which is likely where the term originated. Many venomous snakes have triangular, or arrowhead shaped heads. They are commonly referred to as pit vipers in North America and are quickly identified in the field by the arrowhead shape and slant pupils. Interestingly, you may notice that the cartoon devil is not always depicted with a split tail, but with a arrowhead tip. However, this wasn’t always the case. Popular culture has a tendency to change definitions based upon mutations, anomalies, or differences as simple as an artist’s depiction. The movie “O Brother Where Art Thou” has a scene in which two characters, one played out by George Clooney, disagree on the appearance of the devil. George refers to his pitchfork and vipercated tail. So the term can actually be used interchangeably, but it’s origin isn’t clear to me as to which shape, the triangle or the forked V, came first. I honestly believe the arrowhead is the correct origin, and that calling the tongue vipercated had more to do with the fact that pit vipers have forked tongues. I don’t believe it was a term initially used to describe the fork, but rather that the forked tongue belongs to the vipercated head. It remained, however, and it is a word that many would rather use based solely on the idea that it sounds more educated than “forked” or “split”. – Stump
Answer to “Is there a word to describe a ‘fork-tongued’ shape?”, English Language & Usage Stack Exchange site, https://english.stackexchange.com/quest … 684#384684
Last edited by Eli Nelson (2017-04-16 22:26:49)
Superb metathetical eggcorn, Eli. Thanks for that. It’s hard to imagine that it has travelled from a site of origin so might it be multiple independent coinages? The stack exchange explanation is amazing. I’ll try to find the footage in the film where vipercated is supposed to be used.
Last edited by David Bird (2017-04-17 23:11:15)
Great first post. You should leave the Forum now, Eli, while you are batting 1000%. (Just kidding)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.