Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2018-04-11
1958 A young woman in a white suit with a spring of flowers in the buttonhole.
Titania lying asleep beneath a flower bush, Oberon standing over her on one leg with his right arm extended and holding a
spring of flowers over her,
It’s quite a simple dress, with the gold trimming making it special. I love that a spring of flowers has been tucked into the
(The accompanying picture clearly involves a sprig composed of only a few blossoms, not a whole collection of flowers that might inspire the use of spring as a poetical collective term à la exaltation of larks .)
One of Setsubun customs is to place a spring of holly with grilled sardine heads in order to protect from evil.
she tied sprig after sprig of rosemary. Even though they had already tied enough springs to give to all those that would attend the wake after the funeral, they continued on; needing some sort of occupation to absorb their minds.
Sprig is a rare enough and awkward enough word that it is easily malapropificated, and ing (as contrasted with ig ) is a common enough word endig to be an easy substitution. It’s plausible that someone who knows the proper spelling should type ing just because his or her fingers are used to the motion (the last example is probably that sort of thing), and people who don’t know the word could easily suspect the ig was an omission typo and thus reason that the original was spring .
The association with springtime of flowers and the new growth of sprigs on a branch might give some eggcornish motivation to the above; or the glad feeling springing up that a sprig of flowers or new foliage might evoke; or the very shape and position of a sprig (springing forth from a branch or e.g. from a buttonhole in the first example) might be involved.
It is, to my mind, a pretty weak but not impossible set of motivations to account for the origin of the error. For any for whom the malaprop is established (i.e. they think “a spring of flowers” is standard) some such after-the-fact rationale seems more probable. If they ever think about it, of course.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2020-03-05 22:07:11)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
I far prefer spring of flowers, a burbling plume of gently released ground water, to sprig which possesses no imagery beyond a stark paltry spikiness, or someone with a snotty nose trying to say spring.
I came across a similar word yesterday in an old gardening book: “Bunches – or strigs – are taken complete, to save unnecessary handling of the fruit, which bruises very easily.”
I imagined possible strig/string confusion but strig is so rare it really isn’t worth investigating.
(The fruit, should it be of any interest, is the blackcurrant.)