Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I tried searching both the database and the forum, so if I’ve missed it, please accept my apologies. I think this one is pretty commonplace, but my Google search brought up a mixed bag of seemingly unironic use along with use that indicates an awareness that the word “deprecating” exists, even as the user chose “depreciating.” Is this an eggcorn? There is a close meaning to the alternative word though the original term is deprecating. What I can’t tell is if this is simply a misspelling or if people would be inclined also to pronouce it as “depreciating.”
(As a side note, Google seems to offer a lot of humorous instances of “self-defecating.” Most if not all seemed to be ironic and often were present in opposition to “self-deprecating.”)
Feeling quite combobulated.
I don’t think many people ever SAY “self-deprecating.” I think it’s one of those terms that is written, but seldom spoken.
And even if it’s not, I think they’d say whatever the “eggcorn” is—they’d say “self-depreciating.”
Actually, “self-depreciating” makes tons of sense. I vote eggcorn.
The only thing similar is this one:
Self-defecating by Craig C Clarke Slips, innovations and reshapings 2 2007-06-07 12:06:14 by jorkel
I vote eggcorn. I’ve heard “depreciating” many times where “deprecate” was clearly the intended word. Having said that, the etymology is doing us no favors. Encarta says:
deprecate or depreciate?
To deprecate something is to condemn it as wrong in itself: We deprecate the use of public money for nonessential purposes. To depreciate something is to belittle or disparage it, even though it may not be wrong or bad in itself: They were constantly depreciating our attempts to speak Italian. This use is increasingly rare. Admittedly, self-deprecate goes a long way toward blurring the distinction, for it means “belittle yourself,” not “condemn yourself”; in this sense it is well established, but it may be best regarded as the exception rather than the rule. Both words have more common synonyms: condemn, deplore, and disapprove of for deprecate, and belittle, disparage, and decry for depreciate. Depreciate is also commonly used intransitively (without an object), in financial contexts, to mean “lose value”: The value of the yen has depreciated 20 percent in real terms.
....as you can see above, a case can be made that either one could be used. Still, in realistic cultural context, I assert that “self-deprecate” is the prevelant idiom and that “self-depreciate” is therefore the eggcorn. As in the case of numerous eggcorns, “deprecate” is a less-used word than “depreciate”. In fact, I can’t think of deprecate’s use in any other common context. “Depreciate”, however, is used in many other instances regarding the value of items, especially cars and homes.
Also, I don’t believe that misspellings or mispronunciations account for enough of the “depreciate” occurances to knock this out of being an eggcorn. “Self-deprecating” is spoken often enough to provide ample opportunity for correction….unless the hearer refuses to believe his ears and substitutes “depreciate” (birth of an eggcorn).
I just ran into this version, as an instance of Muphry’s Law as well as a first-perpson account.
I’m pretty sure “I could care less” and “I couldn’t care less” are both correct and both eqaully common in use. Even though “I couldn’t care less” logically doesn’t make sense, it’s basically sarcasm. I apparently comes from the dry upper class british wit, that uses a lot of self-deprivating and sarcastic remarks. (the way I think of it is “I could care less, but I’m not going to be bothered to” meaning they’re not worth thinking about).
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthre … 687&page=3
This one gets several hundred real hits.
Last edited by burred (2013-01-04 13:10:49)
lol, we’d better explain that little bit of visual shorthand. Don Cherry is a on Hockey Night in Canada. He’s famous for being brash, pugnacious, wearing flamboyant suits, having an inflated opinion of himself and sticking his foot firmly in his mouth from time to time. And I see by the web that “I could care less …” is one of his stock phrases.
I had always understood that both were correct, and although they mean slightly different things, both make sense in many of the same contexts. Deprecate = express disapproval, deplore; depreciate = belittle. Most cases of self-depre-whatevering are more likely to be (feigned) self-belittlement than real true self-disapproval. Yet the word deprecation is also used often enough in contexts conducive to insincerity that it comes to mean “speak slightingly” rather than truly “deplore”.
Last edited by DavidTuggy (2013-01-17 18:10:32)
*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .
Here’s an example I encountered yesterday in an online movie discussion:
Luckily for us, Mark Ruffalo stepped in and imbued the Hulk with just the right amount of vulnerability and self-depreciating humour.
Though some of the meanings of “deprecating” and “depreciating” as commonly used are nearly synonymous, I see “self-depreciating” as eggcornish because, for most modern users, the original term was “self-deprecating”, which they somehow morphed into “self-depreciating”. But the n-gram gives an interesting picture: After a brief period of use of “self-deprecating” around 1750, it’s not in evidence again until the 1830s, at which time “self-depreciating” also shows up. “Self-depreciating” is actually more common than “self-deprecating” for the next century! Then, starting in the 1930s, use of “self-deprecating” zooms to a much higher frequency while “self-depreciating” stays at its lower frequency. This sort of change always makes me wonder what the heck happened to create such a shift in usage. I’ll probably never know…
Last edited by Dixon Wragg (2013-05-22 16:45:50)