mores » morays

Chiefly in:   social morays

Variant(s):  moray (sing.)

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • A distinction must be made between social morays (the ethics that prevail by means of the unwritten code of social contract at any point in a given civilization) and criminal law. (Shaksper.net)
  • This ad is suggestive that men are dogs, are not worthy of wearing clothing and need to be tied to a woman who has the power. It also suggests that a woman can have more than one man. Both of these points contravene the social morays that are part of today’s society and involves discrimination of men as a lesser sex rather than as an equal. (Wilson's Almanac)
  • The consequence was social uproar as new people entered the site on a whim after stumbling on long-dead threads and posted without reading FAQs or without knowing the complex set of social morays that the board requires. (Anil Dash)
  • Buñuel and Dali are thumbing their respective noses at every conceivable social moray and value. (DVDBeaver.com)
  • Though its setting is modern, the wry sensibility and gimlet-eyed deconstruction of social morays put SNOBS firmly in the tradition of Jane Austen, E.F. Benson (especially the “Lucia” series) and Anthony Trollope. (AOL Bookreporter)
  • Most porn is not taboo Sevenblu…it is more of a social moray. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

Gymnothorax mordax, the California moray, is not a particularly social animal; still, it entertains a mutualistic relationship with the red rock shrimp, Lysmata claifornica.

The semantics in this case is rather unclear. Presumably, the original meaning of _mores_ has been obscured to the point that the only quasi-homophonous word available takes up the free spot. An influence of spell checkers, however, cannot be excluded.

The singular form is a backformation.

| 2 comments | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/21 |

corroborate » collaborate

Chiefly in:   collaborating evidence

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • The Judge allowed the black box into evidence to determine Mr. Gauthier vehicle’s speed, with no other collaborating evidence. (ExpertLaw)
  • It is concluded that the evidence for such a doublet comes only from 13C(3He,p)14N(p’)13C GS angular correlations and cannot be taken very seriously without further collaborating evidence. (E K Warburton 1986 J. Phys. G: Nucl. Phys. 12 523-527, abstract)
  • Congress should require collaborating evidence in all drug cases to prevent people from be convicted based solely on the word of one person (an informant who is paid for each person convicted, a drug offender getting a reduced sentence for testifying against others). (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 8, 2005)
  • The solution is for those in the legal system, as well as the public at large, to demand collaborating evidence before coming to conclusions based on digital evidence alone. (Cato Institue)

Analyzed or reported by:

Surprisingly frequent (original/eggcorn ratio about 50:1 on Google/English pages).

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/02/21 |

spur » spurn

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • What spurned this sudden interest in college romance? (University of Kentucky Kernel, Oct. 12, 2000)
  • When asked what spurned the Faculty Senate to make such an agreement, Greenbaum declined to answer, saying only, “There was a perceived need.” (University of South Florida Oracle, Feb. 1, 2005)
  • The fear of being left behind in the “digital divide” is real and has in itself spurned policy changes now that it can be seen how important the Internet has become to world economies. (Cisco)
  • The Information Technology wave has spurned a multitude of design and development companies that are involved in building web solutions. (Pegasus Infocorp)
  • Based on writer Ernest Hemingway’s real life love affair with a nurse that reportedly spurned him to write some of his best novels, the film hopes to receive the same critical response as the director’s previous films. (UCLA Daily Bruin, Jan. 23, 1997)
  • He said that his desire to “give back to the community and create change from the inside,” spurned him to become involved in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign. (NYU Washington Square News, Mar. 31, 2004)
  • “Naysayers are spurning him to get his books, go to classes and do his homework,” Wyman said. (Daily Nebraskan, Oct. 11, 2004)
  • There have been many coaches that have spurned me on and taught me many facts about the game. (Maranatha Baptist Bible College)

Carey Alexander McGee at Rational Explanation suggests that the basis for this eggcorn in the form of “What spurned…” is _spawn_, not _spur_. The semantic domains of transitive spawn (‘to cause to spawn; bring forth; produce’) and spur (‘to incite or stimulate’) are close, and some of the Web citations do seem related to the productive sense of _spawn_. Other examples, however, take the form “spurn (someone) to (do something)” or “spurn (someone) on” and could only be based on _spur_. Perhaps the _spurn_ eggcorn is at times based on _spur_, at times on _spawn_, and at times is a blend of the two.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/21 |

fringe » French

Chiefly in:   French benefit

Variant(s):  french benefit, french-benefit

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • He also had some thoughts to share on what a novelist is and what french benefits writers get. (Shades of Maybe, Apr. 24, 1996)
  • That’s why if you have a lot of money, be careful when people surround you maybe they are not really interested in you as a friend. Maybe they really want the ‘french-benefits’ that come by being close to you. … Or are we looking for Jesus because of some things that we might be able to get, the french-benefit. (Homily of Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle, May 5, 2003)
  • But why would I want to trade my wife? I don’t really want to trade her. I take a lot of good care of her and treat her well. The kids really like her, since she’s their mom and all. And I get a lot of French benefits from being married! (Neohapsis, Sep. 8, 2004)
  • The fact that we get helped, that we are benefited by this spiritual power is a side benefit, it’s a French benefit. (Living Epistles Ministries transcript)

Satirized in a recent ad campaign for FedEx Ground:

In “Wrong,” a guy is chastised by his co-workers for being a source of misinformation. “Steely Dan is not one person,” berates one guy. “We get fringe benefits, not French benefits, it’s not the Leaning Tower of Pizza, and James Dean was an actor—Jimmy Dean makes sausages.” The guy is then told that he’s wrong by thinking that FedEx ground is too expensive. “So we don’t get French benefits?” he replies.

| 2 comments | link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/21 |

wry » rye

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Australia itself is also a target. I would warn Thais visiting Australia to be careful because this country is a target too. They should only travel to safe cities or spots,” Thaksin told reporters on Friday with a rye smile on his face. (CNN, May 16, 2003)
  • Hagel has military heroism (not the same as McCain’s POW story, but who has that), a rye sense of humor, and seems to enjoy jabbing his own party members when they disagree. (Daily Kos, Jan. 22, 2004)
  • Constantine did have a rye humor and he may have well said what Chrysostom reports. (Greek American Review, Apr. 2004)
  • Okoth was up midway through the count with a rye grin on his face. (BritishBoxing.net, Nov. 26, 2004)
  • My husband and I met with him this morning. He looked better today than I’ve seen him. His spirit was bright. He was smiling and laughing. He has that rye sense of humor. He’ll say, “Gladys, are you still singing?” He is funny. (Utah Valley Magazine, Jan/Feb 2005)

Like the bread or the whiskey?

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/20 |