Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
Not so long ago there was a long discussion here about Lehmann’s terms (layman’s terms), where it appeared that writers presumed the existence of someone named Lehmann who set forth these terms. (Probably not so different from the Murphy of Murphy’s Law.)
Now we have “Farrell cats.” I came across this gem on craigslist.org (as rich and varied source of slips and reshapings as ever was):
[I called the] clinic and asked them if they did Farrell cats, but they said if she is friendly than they don’t considered it a Farrell so at the time we did not have the money to get a stray cat spayed.
In this example and some others I saw online, “Farrell” was capitalized, it appears that in some cases at least the word is perceived as a proper noun. Apparently this speaker is not the only one who makes this error:
Trying to trap a farrell cat and being out smarted? – Yahoo! AnswersI am trying to trap a farrell cat but it is too sm…
answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090114041929AA9MnUh – 47k – Cached – Similar pages
More results from answers.yahoo.com »
Farrell Cats34 posts – 18 authors – Last post: Nov 3, 2005
I have been hunting south of Valley City to the SD boarder and I have been seeing a lot of farrell cats on my trips. ...
www.nodakoutdoors.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=18338 – 119k – Cached – Similar pages
The spellings do vary:
Ferrell Cat pictures and videos on WebshotsFerrell Cat pictures, videos, images and albums from Webshots.
www.webshots.com/search?query=Ferrell+Cat – 102k – Cached – Similar pages
How can i keep ferrell cats from using my garden as a litterbox? I …I’ve tried just about everything I can think of – - Cayanne flakes, nails in boards, store bought repellents & sprays.
www.blurtit.com/q696061.html – 83k – Cached – Similar pages
And one humorous, knowing example:
Wisconsin man wants hunting season for Will Farrell’s cats …Wisconsin man wants hunting season for Will Farrell’s cats.
www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/d … 05×2773158 – 23k – Cached – Similar pages
Last edited by JonW719 (2009-03-19 16:31:10)
Feeling quite combobulated.
I think we’ve assembled a nice list of “Lehmann’s terms.” Collectively, the list is quite hilarious (and it’s unfortunate that they compete with eggcorns for our attention). Although it would seem easier to contrive these than eggcorns, the ones we’ve managed to locate seem genuine. It would be nice to see the entire set in a separate database alongside the Eggcorn Database.
I still maintain that they are a sub-kind of eggcorns.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Yes, if “Lehmann’s terms” are eggcorns, they’re definitely a sub-kind of eggcorn—with pretty much the same relationship to eggcorns as obtains between sub-humans and humans.
But seriously, while I can’t enthusiastically back “Farrell cats” as an eggcorn, I think it’s a great and entertaining find, and I second Jorkel’s suggestion that we should keep looking for such things. I doubt we’ll get a separate database anytime soon, but if the posts include the word “Lehmann’s,” Search will hopefully pick them up.
Also, I can’t remember that anyone had suggested calling the items themselves “Lehmann’s terms” before Joe’s post—it works really well, I think.
The “Lehmann’s” label has been used for a while, perhaps not precisely stated as “Lehmann’s terms,” but the group always seems to introduce new items by mentioning that surname, so we could use the full term if there are no strong objections. It does have a nice play on words as it departs from “layman’s terms.” An amusing elevation of stature.
I still prefer the label “Annie Lehmanns.” It’s more, well, personal. “Annie Lehmann” also captures the eggcorn ambiguity. “Annie,” as in “penny Annie,” is probably an eggcorn, “Lehmann,” as in “Lehmann’s terms,” is probably not.
Last edited by kem (2017-06-20 17:52:49)
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
And here’s a spelling variant I recently encountered:
People leave cat food out so we have a lot of farrel cats and raccoons.
Lehmann, or mere spelling error? You be the judge.