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#1 2007-06-09 23:16:29

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Out in the STYX (sticks)

Google counts on June 9, 2007
138,000 “Out in the sticks”
510 “Out in the Styx”—mostly eggcorns
154 “Live out in the Styx”—almost entirely eggcorns
Analysis by Joe Krozel

When someone lives “out in the sticks” it means they live away from the center of a city. The notion is that the outer areas of a city generally have more trees—i.e., sticks. Now, “Styx” is a mythical river of Hades, and one may presume that any mention of Styx is a reference to regions distant from the core of civilization—as if those distant regions had some connection with nether lands. Hence, an eggcorn.

I personally recall not knowing whether the correct term was “sticks” or “Styx” right up through the end of highschool. I might add that as a Chicagoan of the 1970’s/1980’s, I and many others were first introduced to the notion of Styx via the Chicago-based band of the same name. Even so, I think many others (non-Chicagoans) are just as likely to utter the eggcorn.

Finally, I would point out that this is one situation where a less sophisticated word (sticks) is eggcorned with a more sophisticated word (Styx). I don’t know of many other eggcorns where that’s the case.

Here are a few examples from the Web…

A Poor Player » 2006 » JulyThose of you who do not live out in the styx like I do don’t have the pleasure of being able to chase thunderstorms. I just got back from a nice 90-minute …
www.apoorplayer.net/blog/?m=200607 – 27k – Cached – Similar pages

www.myspace.com/robynbrightDuring the week works better for me (Fridays too) because I live out in the Styx, public transport to/from The Styx leaves much to be desired, ...
www.myspace.com/robynbright – 163k – Jun 8, 2007 – Cached – Similar pages

Do you find it ironic that enviromenalists are so harsh with …I live out in the Styx surrounded by farms and know many of the farmers – every one of them is an environmentalist. Farmers are to a large extent the …
answers.yahoo.co.nz/question/index?qid=20070525132940AAHXyjf – 145k – Cached – Similar pages

www.myspace.com/jokodojoHey my names Joe I’m 18 I go to Uni at portsmouth but my home town is Southampton tho I live out in the styx. Im into Juggling, Drawing, Photography and …
profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=19259079 – 145k – Cached – Similar pages

Need WildTV in Ont. – The BowZoneLike many in your target audience, we live out in the styx where the wildlife is, and there simply isn’t a cable carrier available. ...
forum.bowzone.ca/showthread.php?t=3034 – 76k – Cached – Similar pages

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Shivering Isles Xbox 360 Preview …How about a little love for those of us who live out in the styx where they haven’t installed DSL service yet. Guess I’ll have to wait for the inevitable …
www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3156953&sec=PREVIEWS – 82k – Cached – Similar pages

DubsNorth :: Topic review -I don’t know the name of the road….I don’t live out in the Styx of VT … I don’t know the name of the road….I don’t live out in the Styx of VT …
www.dubsnorth.org/forum/posting.php?p=2 … order=DESC – 28k – Supplemental Result – Cached – Similar pages

Comments on: Septic rules harming rural Ohio, state rep saysThe reason most of those folk live out in the styx is to avoid unpleasant things like infrastructure costs and “those people”. City property values have …
blogs.vindy.com/news/2007/05/03/septic-rules-harming-rural-ohio-state-rep-says/feed/ – 6k – Supplemental Result – Cached – Similar pages

Last edited by jorkel (2007-06-09 23:27:25)

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#2 2011-02-01 14:13:03

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

Stealing catalytic converters we live in the stinks in the smallest county in Fl. all my family lives around me and someone broke into my papas house and stole his generator.

This nonce is merely a pretext to bring a beauty I ran into in our own backwaters, out in the Styx, back up on top for some redelectation.

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#3 2011-02-02 02:35:20

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 615

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

jorkel wrote:

...I would point out that this is one situation where a less sophisticated word (sticks) is eggcorned with a more sophisticated word (Styx).

Before the band called Styx added the word to the vocabularies of a zillion pop music fans, “Styx” was certainly a more sophisticated word than “sticks”, but afterwords, I don’t think you could say that’s the case. (Though perhaps my assessment is tainted by my hatred for trite pop bands like Styx. FWIW, my taste in Chicago bands runs more toward The Flock, early Chicago—before they turned into another trite pop band—and, especially, The Siegel-Schwall Band).

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#4 2011-02-02 14:08:47

burred
Eggcornista
From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 930

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

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#5 2011-02-02 16:55:37

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

Sorry, I only mentioned the band Styx as a backdrop to explain how some might misconstrue “sticks” ... didn’t intend for things to get sidetracked. Many learn of Styx from Greek mythology, and that serves as the backdrop for most others.

The use of “sticks” always seemed a bit peculiar to me. Sure it makes sense, but it always felt less than optimal as a word choice … oddly informal—just as boonies is—but I suppose that points to its origin. Although neither is acceptable for formal writing, their common use seems to elevate them from their slangy origin, and perhaps that was the source of confusion for me since a classical theme (Styx) might have dignified the expression better.

Last edited by jorkel (2011-02-02 18:20:47)

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#6 2011-02-03 00:44:18

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 615

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

burred wrote:

You are your brothers, and they are all you, Dixon.

Aaaaawesome, Dude!

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#7 2011-02-03 00:57:20

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Santa Rosa, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 615

Re: Out in the STYX (sticks)

jorkel wrote:

Sorry, I only mentioned the band Styx as a backdrop to explain how some might misconstrue “sticks” ... didn’t intend for things to get sidetracked.

No need for you to apologize, Joe; I’m the one who got off on a tangent. I assumed a brief tangent wouldn’t bother anyone. If it did, I apologize.

The use of “sticks” always seemed a bit peculiar to me. Sure it makes sense, but it always felt less than optimal as a word choice … oddly informal—just as boonies is—but I suppose that points to its origin. Although neither is acceptable for formal writing, their common use seems to elevate them from their slangy origin, and perhaps that was the source of confusion for me since a classical theme (Styx) might have dignified the expression better.

That may indeed have been the source of confusion, since I didn’t experience the same type of confusion, which may reflect the fact that I don’t consider classical references to be objectively any better than informal, even slangy expression. That whole distinction smacks of classism to me.

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