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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2019-05-16 08:57:26

David Bird
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1614

"Near-do-well" for ne'er-do-well

I can conceive of the genesis of this altered version through the canonical route of Things you read and understood but mispronounced in your mind. I first heard ne’er-do-well pronounced as “near-do-well” in a youtube account of the last days of Jim Morrison. There are more than 100 hits for near-do-wells on google. If it is an eggcorn for a ne’er-do-well, the modified sense might be of someone who falls short of doing well. It is a weak substitute, admittedly, for someone who never does well.

“That’s nice, Bayonne, New Jersey. Irving don”t we know somebody from Bayonne” meaning well at least your father is not a jobless near-do-well like my Irving. My father acknowledged that he had a friend who once worked in the naval depot in Bayonne during the war, meaning, I may be a near-do-well, jobless preson, but I know people who led successful lives and worked.

The husband is a professional gambler by the name of Bradford Linley. He was a near-do-well from outside the the Byrd’s social circle.
online western

In short he was a near do well, a drunk, a womanizer and a steady visitor to the city jail.

A lonely young orphaned girl is taken in by an Uncle who lives in a large house with his housekeeper and near-do-well son.
book review



#2 2019-05-16 18:38:35

From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 204

Re: "Near-do-well" for ne'er-do-well

I can see it as a definite eggcorn, one step up from a ne’er-do-well. Next step up is an almost-do-well, then a barely-do-well. :)

“I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin



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