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Chris -- 2011-03-08

#1 2006-04-04 04:02:30

Registered: 2006-04-04
Posts: 1

bag of shells

This showed up on A Word A Day, identified as a ‘malapropism’ – but it’s indeed an eggcorn, because the original word ‘bagatelle’ has been reanalyzed as English – and, as Philip Viener comments, ‘a whimsical quality that makes it equivalent to the original word.’

From: Philip Viener (
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day—bagatelle

During this last American football season, I heard a television sports
commentator refer to the fine one player was assessed by the National
Football League for some on-field misconduct as being a “mere bag of shells” to
him. An amusing malapropism, but I did find myself liking the mis-spoken phrase.
There’s a certain whimsical quality that makes it equivalent to the
original word. Of course, in some cultures, a bag of shells would have
significant value, so it wouldn’t work everywhere.



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