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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2019-11-25 10:37:08

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2725

sempeternal << sempiternal

The Merriam-Webster Word of the day flags (without knowing it) an eggcorn:

Despite their similarities, sempiternal and eternal come from different roots. Sempiternal is derived from the Late Latin sempiternalis and ultimately from semper, Latin for “always….” Eternal, on the other hand, is derived, by way of Middle French and Middle English, from the Late Latin aeternalis and ultimately from aevum, Latin for “age” or “eternity.” Sempiternal is much less common than eternal, but some writers have found it useful. 19th-century American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, wrote, “The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, … to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why….”

One suspects that “sempeternal,” which can be found with some frequency on the web, is spelling perturbed by meaning, an eyecorn.

Here’s a chap who makes this mistake in a subsidy-published book of poetry.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#2 2019-11-27 03:15:40

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2384
Website

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

I learned the Spanish version of this word (sempiterno) as a child, and I reasoned that it was from siempre ‘always’ (< Latin semper , thus etymologically correct) + eterno ‘eternal’. Spanish sometimes changes the vowel linking the two stems of a compound into an i , as e.g. in pelirrojo < pelo ‘hair’ + rojo ‘red’ = ‘red-haired’, and (I think) I figured that was what happened here.
.
So did I recreate the Latin derivation of sempiternalis (i.e. does the second half of that word come from aeternum ?), or achieve an eggcorn similar to the one Kem suggests, or what?


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

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#3 2019-11-27 23:09:42

yanogator
Eggcornista
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 231

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

etimonline.com says that it does, David. Merriam-Webster seems to be trying to ignore the last two syllables of the word, which doesn’t make them look good.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/sempiternal


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

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#4 2019-11-28 06:17:38

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 1062

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

Adopting a sideways approach, it could assume an earcorn guise providing we read paternal as something benevolent and enduring rather than pejorative.

Those producing, distributing, and broadcasting programs today are not likely to share the samepaternal goals for audiences as their predecessors.

... or maybe in a space with no time, in an after life, we can feel the love we had the first week of us being together, and I hope that the feeling is sempaternal.

I have my bangs swept over to the side, and my hair is black, naturally straight. i have my septum pierced and i have a tattoo of the sempaternal flower on my wrist.

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#5 2020-01-27 19:13:07

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2725

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

So did I recreate the Latin derivation of sempiternalis (i.e. does the second half of that word come from aeternum ?)

It isn’t clear that the Latin “sempiternus” is a portmanteau of “semper” (always) and “aeternus (forever).” I assume that’s why the M-W people didn’t mention it. In fact, the word “sempiternus” seems to have meant, in classical Latin, “for a long time” and not “forever.” But by Late Latin, when “sempiternus” did come to mean “forever,” it may have become a stealth eggcorn.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

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#6 2020-02-04 18:31:42

David Bird
Eggcornista
From: Montréal, QC
Registered: 2009-07-28
Posts: 1642

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

I really liked samepaternal, Peter, but I think it is what Kem called an acombination. (I really must slash and burn most of that thread one day).

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#7 2020-02-15 12:06:03

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 1062

Re: sempeternal << sempiternal

(I really must slash and burn most of that thread one day)

I’ve stumbled through that thread, gamely clicking all the blues and suffering all the usual cognitive and sensory overloading you lads heap upon me, before finally emerging, ragged and stupefied, certainly none the wiser, but insistent that you must do no such thing. It’s my equivalent of swimming with dolphins.

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