Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
“past-time” for “pastime” is all over the place; I’ve seen it for years. The origin, pass+time, has been obscured by the spelling change. I was reminded of it by this:
The New York Times
October 28, 2007
Halloween Stirs Imagination In Costume – Loving Japan
Filed at 9:30 p.m. ET
TOKYO (Reuters) – A handful of giggling Japanese women wearing devil’s horns and cat costumes gather under a giant neon-orange pumpkin outside a Tokyo shopping mall.
A Halloween street party?
“Ah, no, this is cosplay,” says 20-year-old Saori, referring to costume role-play, or the Japanese past-time of dressing up as their favorite animation movie character.
It’s hard to websearch for because Google ignores the hyphen, so you get “past time” as well as “pasttime”.
Mark A. Mandel
It could just be eye dialect until we figure out what the utterers intend with the word “past.” If it’s just a misspelling of “passed” then the etymology is no different from the “pass” of “pastime.”
Here’s an example I just stumbled upon, from a Facebook page whereon a woman is trying to sell something called Karamel Krak:
Karamel Krak is a spin…on Caramel Popcorn. However ANYONE CAN EAT IT. People with false teeth, no teeth… Don’t miss out on one of your fave past times of Caramel popcorn only MORE GOODER!!!!!
The context suggests that the writer may have had an eggcornish meaning-confusion in mind; she may have been hearkening back to those halcyon past times when people who now have false teeth or no teeth had a full set of choppers, allowing them to enjoy caramel corn. Hence “past times” in lieu of “pastimes”. So this may possibly be an actual eggcorn rather than the mere mishearing/misspelling I suspect most such substitutions are. Then again, it’s possible that she wasn’t trying to say “pastimes” at all, but was only referencing past times.