Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
A person who completely abstains from something, particularly from intoxicating beverages, is a teetotaller. On the web you will frequently find the word spelled “teatotaller” or “tea-totaller.” One way to avoid the evils of alcohol is to confine one’s drinking to tea, of course, and this may have deflected the word “teetotaler” to this novel spelling. Four of the many hundreds of web examples of “teatotaller” and “teatotal” are given at the end of this post.
The Lancashireman and temperance reformer Richard Turner is usually credited with the first application of the word to alcohol abstinence. Those who want to know more about this strange word will find a sober assessment of the issues in Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words blog (http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-tee1.htm).
By the way, this word is not teetotally new to readers at eggcorn.lascribe.net. On the old forum the word gets a one-line mention by Robin Stocks: “Just caught myself writing ‘teatotal’ instead of ‘teetotal’. The mistake is probably as old as the word:” (http://eggcorns.lascribe.net/contribute/comment-page-3/). Strangely, there is no claim that the word is an eggcorn and no followup discussion. “Teatotally” seems to me a classic eggcorn. Am I missing something?
Comment on an Edinburgh Evening Post piece: “Hibs signed well-renowned wallflower and teatotaller George Best for a spell, not to mention Chic Charnely.” (http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport … 4052593.jp)
An Indian marriage connection board: “We are looking for a professionally qualified person working in India/Abroard and must be a teatotaller.” (http://profile.bharatmatrimony.com/prof … &print=yes)
Post response to a Christian blog: “. He developed a serious drinking problem when we were on the mission field (’87-’91) and then he was a teatotaller for 15 years.” (http://hupotasso.wordpress.com/2008/09/ … n-eph-533/)
In a list of tips for surviving the coming recession: “Become teatotal: How much alcohol do you drink? A couple of bottles of wine a week? A few pints after work? It all adds up. ” (http://www.froggybank.co.uk/news/101-ti … it-crunch/)
Last edited by kem (2008-10-23 12:40:50)
Strangely, there is no claim that the word is an eggcorn and no followup discussion. “Teatotally” seems to me a classic eggcorn. Am I missing something?
I’m no expert, but I’d have to agree that “teatotaller” is a classic eggcorn, and I too am surprised that it hasn’t seen more “action’ on this site. If anyone thinks it isn’t one, I’d like to hear them make their case against it. Otherwise, let’s get it onto the list.