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#1 2006-10-04 16:35:23

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 827

"A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

I confess I can’t see where this ‘whole raft of’ thing came from in the first place; me, I’d prefer “a big shipful”, as such a vessel would be far safer, and could carry far more too.
In terms of supporting heavy weights, ‘rafters’ make at least as much sense as ‘rafts’, and that it’s ‘rafter’ and not eye dialect for ‘raft of’ is made clear in the number of examples using, ” a whole rafter of”.
(I’d like to thank fishbait for introducing me to the term ‘eye dialect’ – of course we had the notion already, but having it condensed into just 4 self-explanatory syllables is invaluable.)
I don’t really think this is an example of an eggcorn, unless there are lots of construction workers unconsciously bending rafts into something they consider more worthy, so I’ve bunged it into ‘Slips etc.’

Hello there – I’ve stumbled across this board and registered because I can see there’s a whole rafter of knowledge on here. That can be very useful but, ...
www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/archive/inde … 57799.html – 32k – Supplemental Result –

“There is a whole rafter of words that either come from the Internet or where the Internet has given them new meanings,” said Simpson. ...
wired.com/news/culture/1,21435-0.html – 21k –

Also associated with such tendencies are a whole rafter of psychological constructs, such as fear, paranoia, and projection, which inevitably lead to …
www.amazon.ca/History-Obsession-Klaus-P … 0826410898 – 59k -

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#2 2006-11-03 10:33:21

MartyArtie
Member
From: Teddington, Middlesex
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 23

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

Frankly, I find the original phrase extremely annoying. Given the nature of rafts, how could you tell if you had a whole one, against half a one?

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#3 2006-11-04 05:19:35

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

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

The entertaining posts by both Peter and MartyArtie made me want to find out where this weird use of “raft” comes from. According to the OED, this “raft” is a a variant of “raff” (which also appears as an element of the word “riffraff”); in its first occurrences in the 14th century, “raff” meant “abundance, plenty.” But by the late 17th century, it was starting to signify “a large number or collection.” The OED notes that the “raft” variant was originally a dialectal and American usage. American writers start using “raft” to mean “a lot” by the first half of the 19th century, and today it’s clear from the OED’s examples that the word has now spread throughout Anglophonia. The watergoing vessel may have had a role in influencing the change of “raff” to “raft,” but that’s a bit unclear.

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#4 2006-11-06 10:39:33

MartyArtie
Member
From: Teddington, Middlesex
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 23

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

On the subject of expressions for “large quantities of”, shedloads versus shitloads – eggcorn, euphemism or mere inelegant variation? Is shedloads a BritEng expression only? (“shitloads” is more than twice as common as “shedloads” on the internet, according to Google.)

Oh, and if you do Google “shitloads”, you get a sponored link on the right-hand side that says

“www.ebay.co.uk
Find Shitloads!
Buy Shitloads on eBay”

I’m sure you can …

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#5 2006-11-07 03:40:36

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

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

I’m starting to be impressed with the range of stuff we’ve already talked about. It turns out that a longish “shedloads” thread already exists:
http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/forum/view … p?pid=1996

The consensus seemed to be that this was largely a UK phenomenon, and it’s interesting to note that all of the regular contributors that I know to be Yanks sat that one out —we obviously didn’t feel we knew enough to add anything.

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#6 2006-11-07 04:04:29

Fishbait2
Eggcornista
From: Brookline, MA
Registered: 2006-10-09
Posts: 80
Website

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

I’m pretty sure that the change from “raff” to “raft” in 19th-century America had everything to do with a “raft of logs.” This is not a vessel, or a “raft” in the Kon-Tiki sense. It is an immense quantity of logs-cut timber-enclosed or “boomed” together by a chain, and floated down a river, often at high water. This was a tremendously impressive sight, and a very common one wherever logging went on on a large scale.

Here’s a quote from Sarah Orne Jewett, the Maine writer who wrote “Country of the Pointed Firs”:

We had been “warping” a raft of logs down the lake that night; for the nights in May are generally less windy than the days, and ” warping,” or “booming,” is best done on calm water.

When, in getting lumber down to the saw-mills, it becomes necessary to cross a lake, or an expanse of “dead” water, the logs, many hundreds in number, are first enclosed within a “boom,” or ” cordon,” consisting of long logs connected at the ends by huge, moveable pins, termed “thorough-shots.” Ahead of this great raft, often covering a number of acres, is hitched a “float,” built of very large, buoyant logs, and generally made twenty-four feet in length by about twelve in width. Upon this float is set up an upright capstan, pierced for eight levers, or “bars.”

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#7 2006-11-08 19:21:54

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 827

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

Thanks Fishbait, that’s convinced me at least – now there were one or two other terms troubling me…

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#8 2006-12-13 13:25:25

Mandy Mayday
Member
Registered: 2006-12-13
Posts: 2

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

Hi!!!!
The original phrase is not very nice indeed. Nevermind!
Greetings from Pula, Croatia

http://www.fitforeurope.com/croatia/pula/

Last edited by Mandy Mayday (2006-12-13 13:26:01)

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#9 2007-04-01 23:47:58

booboo
Eggcornista
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 2007-04-01
Posts: 179

Re: "A whole rafter..." for "a whole raft of..."

A funny tie-in to this: I’ve heard the substitution of “rash” for “raft”. As in, “He gave me a rash of shit for not going to work today.” I don’t even have an explanation.

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