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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2018-04-23 07:44:19

Dixon Wragg
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1364

"Mohawk"/"Mohican" haircut -- an etymological eggcorn?

From the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Mohawk…Meaning “haircut style favored by punk rockers” is c. 1975, from fancied resemblance to hair style of the Indians in old illustrations. The style of cut earlier was called a Mohican (1960).

It appears to me that the process by which “Mohawk” supplanted, to some degree, “Mohican”—or vice versa; my research indicates “Mohawk” (for a haircut) goes back well before 1970—was eggcornical. Granted, the pronunciation similarity is not extreme, but it’s close enough to pretty much rule out random happenstance; it isn’t as if someone has morphed “Dakota” into “Seminole”. Being pretty ignorant about these tribes, I myself have always tended to mix the words up. Both usages imply the assumption that the hairstyle is based upon one worn by the named tribe. So, a sort of eggcorn, I reckon.



#2 2018-05-07 00:00:25

From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2671

Re: "Mohawk"/"Mohican" haircut -- an etymological eggcorn?

I had to look “Mohican” up too. Had not thought about the similarity in sound with “Mohawk.” They are both Algonquin tribes, but the two words seem to have different derivations.

Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.



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