Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
Once I noticed this, I found that Geoffrey Nunberg had beaten me to it by 4 years. This is from a ‘Fresh Air’ commentary of his, contributed in 2002:
‘That “nucular” pronunciation is really what linguists call a folk etymology, where the unfamiliar word nuclear is treated as if it had the same suffix as words like molecular and particular. It’s the same sort of process that turns lackadaisical into “laxadaisical” and chaise longue into chaise lounge.’
‘Folk etymology’ is, of course, a conceptual precursor of ‘eggcorn,’ which hadn’t yet been invented in 2002. ‘Laxadaisical gets 800+ ghits.