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 |

bud » butt

Chiefly in:   nip in the butt

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “We take the dangers of alcohol seriously,” said Spangler, in his second year as the golf coach. “It’s better to nip it in the butt sooner than later.” (Daily Nebraskan, Oct. 31, 2002)
  • This incident surfaces now because computer systems manager Bill Witkowski is fed up with being harassed and wants to nip it in the butt. (New Haven Advocate, Feb. 27, 2003)
  • “The story of our season is we have been giving up the big inning and when you give up the big inning and you don’t nip it in the butt both pitching wise and defensive wise. You lose ball games.” (Metropolitan State College of Denver, Met Online, Apr. 17, 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

See also butt»bud as in _the bud of someone’s jokes_, _butt naked_, and butt»but.

| 3 comments | link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/02/20 |

hearty » hardy

Chiefly in:   party hardy , hardily

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • And apparently this was the case because the Phi Delts had in fact been told to watch themselves because they have a reputation on campus for being a “party-hardy” fraternity. (University of LaVerne Campus Times, Sep. 27, 2002)
  • ‘Hey, is the phrase ‘party hardy,’ h-a-r-d-y, or is it ‘party hearty,’ h-e-a-r-t-y?’ ‘Party hardy,’ Tony answered, after thinking for a moment. ‘Like the Boys.’ ‘Hmmm. I always thought hearty. Like you’re putting your whole heart into the partying.’ Tony nodded, conceding Mikey’s point. (The Morning News, Nov. 7, 2002)
  • The lyrics follow the party-hardy style of The Strokes or other new rock bands, but the music is still rooted in lush musical imagery and a soft-rock piano accompaniment. (Macalester College Mac Weekly, Oct. 22, 2004)
  • I’m ambivalent on that one, as I can see an argument made for seeing it in context, but I hardily dislike the “improved” Google Groups UI for threaded view, which I find much harder to read). (soc.motss, Aug. 22, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

Web usage runs about 1.3:1 in favor of party hearty. The hardy variant has been popular at least since the ’70s (see, e.g., the song “Party Hardy” by the funk band Slave released in 1977, the same year that another funk band, L.T.D., released “We Party Hearty”). The variant with hardy is clearly influenced by party hard.

[Added, Aug. 23, 2005:] As for hardily, the example above appeared in a soc.motss discussion about the Eggcorn Database, ironically enough. Google finds this form appearing quite frequently in such collocations as hardily recommend, hardily agree, and laugh hardily.

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