fetal » feeble

Chiefly in:   (curled up) in the feeble position

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Donnie was in the feeble position on the floor rocking back and forth. (blog fiction by Robert Kingett, July 20, 2009)
  • I was impressed. He was looking quite happy for someone who spent the last night sleeping in the feeble position. (fanfiction.net, July 26, 2009)
  • Dwayne kept on punching and kicking Damian until one of Damien’s crew members came back with the gym teacher Mr. Croix who broke up the fight only to see that Damian was in the feeble position crying and bleeding on the floor. (blog entry, April 5, 2009)

Michael Covarrubias noted this eggcorn in his August 2, 2009 posting on the American Dialect Society’s listserv, overhearing ep. 2 of season 1 of the show _Coach_ (_I dropped on my knees, curled up in the feeble position, closed my eyes and screamed my head off_). He also noted that googling “the feeble position” returns a number of hits from skateboarding sites and discussion, where the phrase seems to refer to a position of the board perched on the edge of a ramp.

If a person is said to be placed (often: “curled up”) in the fetal position, this generally carries a sense beyond the mere positioning of the rump and limbs, but also signifies a state of extreme weakness and vulnerability. _Feeble_ is an adjective close to this sense. The substitution of [b] for the flapped t in _fetal_ — its usual realization in American English — is an easy change to make.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/08/16 |

eavesdrop » eardrop

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Some of the terms that are closely inspected in this chapter include attacks on integrity and confidentiality, wardriving, LAN jacking, wireless eardropping, WEP cracking and usage of rougue adapters. (net-security.org book review, June 4, 2003)
  • I mean just eardropping this morning I heard a lot. (Australian Government welcome address transcript, (1994))
  • Yes privacy and civil rights are important, but do you really think the government was more interested about eardropping on your silly conversations than about trying to prevent another attack? (SatelliteGuys.us forum, August 28, 2006)

Analyzed or reported by:

On the original verb _eavesdrop_, see _eavesdrop_ » _ease drop_. _Eardrop_ makes immediate sense.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/05/18 |

eavesdrop » ease drop

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • Not too long ago, however, I ease dropped on a conversation at a local restaurant, that although was probably not the right thing to do, as far as good manners are concerned, proved to be quite entertaining. (The Caledonia Argus, Oct 23, 2007)
  • I just lovelovelove all that kitschy stuff that you find in touristy places, and you can get some fabulous easedropping done, too. (Salon.com comment, Jul 23, 1997)
  • I have a problem. I like to ease drop. I am horrible at doing this. I ease drop and love to people watch. (blog post, July 12, 2006)
  • But how do you prove someone is ease dropping? (mailing list post, Sep 28, 1996)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Eavesdrop_ is a denominal verb formed from the same pattern as for example _shop_ or _lobby_. The underlying noun _eavesdrop_, expanded in the OED as “the space of ground which is liable to receive the rain-water thrown off by the eaves of a building”, has fallen out of general use, and with it the image behind the verb, of standing close to the outside wall of a house, under the overhanging roof, and listening in to what is spoken inside.

The eggcorn _easedrop_ or _ease drop_ might be stressing the aspect of casualness when overhearing other people’s conversations.

The reshaping _eavesdrop_ » _ease drop_ has been suggested multiple times on this site and in other venues, first by Chris Russell (investigated by Pat Schwieterman).

See also _eavesdrop_ » _eardrop_.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/05/18 |

lengths » links

Chiefly in:   car links

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “I like to have about 10-15 car links between us and the cars in front of us…” (link)
  • “If they can’t see your license plate from 3 and 1/2 car links behind, they should get glasses.” (link)
  • “At 160 i was about 1 1/2 car links ahead of the Supra.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Doug Harris (ADS-L posting of 7 April 2009)

The raising of [Ɛ] before nasals probably plays a role in this one.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2009/04/07 |

front and center » front in center

Classification: English – and «» in/en

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Women’s rights in Afghanistan are (finally) front in center in light of the country’s new “rape” law.” (link)
  • “Wise moving to front in center” (link)
  • “Gay marriage front in center before Calif. high court” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Victor Steinbok (e-mail of 6 April 2009)

Another case of exchange between different unaccented nasal syllables.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2009/04/07 |