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#1 2007-03-18 17:40:17

BadAunt
Member
Registered: 2007-03-18
Posts: 4

Cow tow

A while ago I found “I will not be cow towing to their ego” on a blog somewhere, but forgot to note the web address. However, a google of “cow tow” gets 20,000-odd hits. But it’s still an eggcorn, right? When does an eggcorn stop being an eggcorn and become a ‘real’ word?

(I feel a little sorry for the cow.)

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#2 2007-03-19 03:26:06

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: Cow tow

Ken Lakritz submitted a variant of this—“cow toe”—some time ago. His post is here: http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=78

They’re both amusing, but I’m not sure that either one is an eggcorn. You’ve got to use a lot of imagination to convince yourself that the speakers are consciously drawing connections between towing cows or cows’ toes on the one hand and kowtowing on the other.

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#3 2007-03-19 04:27:21

BadAunt
Member
Registered: 2007-03-18
Posts: 4

Re: Cow tow

I see. I noticed when I clicked on a couple of the hits that some people were wondering what cows had to do with it, but I also wondered whether in most instances it was just a mistake by people who realized the word came from Chinese but didn’t know how to spell it. I guess that just makes it a spelling mistake.

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#4 2007-03-21 15:22:56

nilep
Eggcornista
Registered: 2007-03-21
Posts: 291

Re: Cow tow

I wonder – and here’s where English orthography somewhat fails us – how those who write <cow tow> pronounce it. It seems fairly clear that <cow toe> is pronounced /kawtow/ (perhaps with variable stress), but <cow tow> could be either /kawtow/ or /kawtaw/. The latter seems like a spelling variation, the former like an eggcorn. (Next question: Is dragging a bovine about somehow an act of obsequiousness?)

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