Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
I knew there would defiantly be a marsh pit but yet again another crowd surfer only hit me once.
There are lots of other exx. out there:
I am ready to start any time but I need to know defiantly if we are doing it
“Green coat? He was wearing a blue coat last night.” ¶ “No” Kitty replied, “It was defiantly green.” She was sure that it was green because […]
Defiantly too hot to cook, call Molino’s Italian Kitchen for a poolside delivery
She was almost certain she liked him. Whether her feelings went beyond that was defiantly too soon to tell.
Defiantly Not The Leader Of The Pack.
This one is surprisinglly common: a number of vocabulary-correction sites deal with the mixup (e.g. ).
Conceivably it might be from (misspelled) “definately” metathesized and then perhaps spell-checked into “defiantly”, or some other non-eggcornish derivational path might be available. But it is hard to believe that would explain as many of these there are.
Eggcornish motivation is not hard to find.
Sometimes definiteness can be an effect or symptom of defiance. In the last example, for instance, the referenced person who is not the leader of the pack may have defiantly refused to assume that position, and his or her successful defiance would mean that being the leader of the pack has definitely not happened and (usually) will definitely not happen as long as the defiance continues. Generally, if someone defiantly maintains or intends something, it will (or at least is likely to) definitely happen (or be seen as true, etc..)
Also once a person is convinced something is definitely true, he or she may well maintain it defiantly in the face of considerations or pressures inimical to it. In this case the defiance results from the definiteness, rather than vice versa (as above).
Definite events or configurations of things may inconvenience one by their stubborn refusal to conform to one’s wishes, and this metaphorical stubbornness can feel like defiance. A person maintaining something definitely (e.g. giving somebody a definite “No!”) is likely to come across as defiant in his definite support or expression of the point at issue.
Quite likely there are other rationales available, but these feel likely plenty to me, and it seems probably that at least some of these are active for at least some speakers/writers that use the word.
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .