Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Today a coworker admitted to a “hairballed idea” in an IM. A coworker said, “You mean a hairbrained idea?” “No,” said the first coworker, “I mean a hairballed idea. Hairbrained doesn’t even make sense.” Several other coworkers chimed in to say that “hairballed” was the correct version. When I mentioned “harebrained,” they thought I was crazy.
Anyone else encountered this one?
I found 115 Google hits for “hairball scheme,” 154 for “hairball idea” (although not all in the same sense as “hairbrained idea”), and 54 for “hairball theory.”
While on the subject, is “hairbrained” a fully fledged eggcorn, replacing as it does the original harebrained, meaning barmy or mad as in March hares?
Maybe if your hair grew inwards it would affect the workings of your brain? Is this the image people have?
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will buy a ridiculous hat – Scott Adams (author of Dilbert)
Build a man a fire and he will be warm for a day; set a man on fire and he will be warm for the rest of his life – Terry Pratchett