Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
When my cousins and I were kids we played badminton a lot. We were curious, I remember, about the name of the game. Was there, we wondered, a “goodminton?” Apparently the name gives other people pause-thousands and thousands of web sites spell the game “badmitten.” A cute substitution, but probably not an eggcorn-mittens play no role in the game.
The name “badminton” may derive, the OED speculates, from Badminton House in Wiltshire, the principal seat of the Dukes of Beaufort. Badminton is a nineteenth-century version of an older game called “battledore,” a word of equally murky derivation.
Anyway, this post is not about the name of the game, but the name of the projectile used in the game of badminton, the “shuttlecock.” Originally a shuttlecock was a bit of cork festooned with feathers. The feathers slowed the cork down and gave it a stable flight. The name “shuttlecock” presumably comes from the action of the feathered cork during the game. The “birdie” (which was what we most often called the shuttlecock) flits back and forth like the shuttle of a loom.
The term “shuttle” is somewhat opaque, now that the loom has disappeared from the family home. In about twenty places on the web “shufflecock” used in place “shuttlecock” (See samples below.). This substitution may be an eggcorn The little “shufflecock” dances back and forth between the players and a shuffle, we know, can be a dance or a dance step. Or perhaps the switch is motivated by the way the birdie shuffles around the playing court.
Examples of “shufflecock:”
Caption for a humorous video: “Watch David Ortiz and Brian Urlacher win the badminton title when Ortiz crushes the shufflecock into his opponents leg!!” (http://thebaseballcorner.blogspot.com/2 … acher.html)
Sales site: “Badminton Shufflecocks ” (http://www.shop2freaks.com/products/c00 … ufflecocks)
Comment on sports advice site: “You must have the right attire or just wear anything in which you are comfortable…. You must have the badminton raquet in badminton and also the shufflecock ….” (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index … 126AAR36xc)
There are also a few examples on the web of “shufflebus.” You know, the little buses that shuffle around parking lots.
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Your analysis seems entirely plausible and eggcornilicious. Nice one.
It is a bit surprising to me that, loom or no, people don’t think about shuttle buses, the space shuttle, or shuttle diplomacy. Does Henry Kissinger have no legacy?
Maybe the problem is that people are thinking about “shuffle buses,” “shuffle diplomacy” and “space shuffles.” All of those appear online; the last two may be largely puns, but—not meaning to take away from the undeniable charm of “shufflecock”—“shuffle bus” works wonderfully and as far as I can tell gets a lot more hits. Obviously , if this ever makes it into the Database (and it should), we’ll need a more general shuttle>>shuffle label.
I think a few of these (esp. the small number of authentic-looking “space shuffle” and “shuffle diplomacy” hits) can probably be explained by the fact that lots of people use the same finger for f and t when typing, but “shufflecock” and “shuffle bus” clearly lead eggcorneal lives of their own.
A comment on the “shuffle off this mortal coil” article in the Database notes that there are lots of shuffle>>shuttle citations for that phrase.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2009-04-21 14:43:25)