mishmash » mixmash

Variant(s):  mix-mash, mix(-)mosh

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • At first, students and teachers may miss the units and projects, long source themes, outlines, How-to books, word games, and all the empurpled mix-mash we have fallen heir to. (Floyd Rinker, "Priorities in the English Curriculum," English Journal Vol. 51, No. 5 (May 1962), p. 312)
  • ‘Photography in the Fine Arts’ was a distressing mixmash. (Ansel Adams, Oct. 14, 1962 letter, Ansel Adams: Letters, 1916-1984 (2001), p. 295)
  • I’ll let you deal with figuring the convention out as I use a number of custom widgets subclassed from ’stock’ Gtk and so you’ll see a mixmash of classic Gtk and your skin. (Postfish README file, Xiph.Org, 2005)
  • You will see a mixmash of different styles and layouts, some good, some bad, but thumbing through so many varied examples should give you plenty of ideas for possible designs and layouts for your own poster. (Kalev H. Leetaru, "A Speaker's Guide to Painless and Successful Public Speaking," Mar. 24, 2008, p. 24)
  • Oh sorry, it is all in English. I don’t divide the two languages sometimes. In our house it is a mixmash of English and German! (Netty, Language Log comment, Jan. 26, 2009)
  • “It was a mixmosh of people — it wasn’t just black and white — and everybody’s got their cultures. Everybody’s got their music and their religion, and you just throw that into the pot and stir it up,” Salgado continues. “That’s why the blues is what it is: because America was a hybrid melting pot of all these cultures.” (Bay Weekly, May 16-22, 2002)
  • A mixmosh of various types of audio created using recording programs. (Crunkcore Records)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Arnold Zwicky (ADS-L, Jan. 26, 2009)

Mixmash takes the reduplicative first syllable of mishmash and transforms it into the semantically transparent mix. In fact, the linkage between mix and mash goes back etymologically all the way to the Indo-European root *meik-. The reduplication of mash into mishmash has also been paralleled by forms with mix, such as the variants mixty-maxty, mixter-maxter, and mixie-maxie from Scotland/N. England.

More recently, mixing and mashing have become allied concepts in the world of musical production (mix-master, mash-up, etc.). So it’s not surprising that mixmash often appears as an intentional lexical mash-up in contexts relating to music and technology, e.g. Mix Mash Records or MixMash VJ services. Such intentional uses may lead to an acceptance of mixmash as a variant of mishmash in relevant fields — as in the 2005 example above, from the README file for Postfish (”a digital audio post-processing, restoration, filtering and mixdown tool”).

Meanwhile, the variant mix(-)mosh suggests two additional contributing factors: the Yiddish-influenced pronunciation of mishmash as [mɪʃmɑʃ] (often spelled mishmosh) rather than [mɪʃmæʃ], and the newer sense of mosh to describe slam-dancing (mosh pit, etc.).

| comment | link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2009/01/26 |

bludgeon » bloodgeon

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • On Sunday morning (2:30am), a mexican woman and her 19 year old daughter got bloodgeoned to death here in Fremont. (Livejournal post, 2 Feb, 2004)
  • Democracy is the bloodgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people. (reader comment, accessed Jan 4, 2009)
  • There are waaay too many games out there with ‘rap’ gangster types on it or games that encourage people to bloodgeon their friends to death with bats or whatever. (Forza2 motorsport forum, July 5, 2007)
  • My first day saw the brutal task of bloodgeoning a mouse to death to feed a jaguarundi, and my eyes were the first to behold the 5 hour old baby Spider Monkey. (Blog post, June 07, 2007)

Analyzed or reported by:

A bloodthirsty eggcorn. The origin of _bludgeon_ is not well understood. AHD4 laconically states “[Origin unknown.]”, and the OED offers several lines of inquiry — or speculation:

> [Not found before the 18th c.: origin unknown.
_Blogon_ (with g = j) is quoted by Dr. Whitley Stokes from the Cornish drama _Origo Mundi_ (? 14th c.), but its relation to the English is uncertain. Other Celtic etymologies sometimes proposed are on many grounds untenable. A Du. vb. _bludsen_ to bruise, has also been compared; and it has been suggested that the word is of cant origin, connected with _blood_.]

It is therefore possible — though not very likely — that users of the eggcorn are even going back to the word origin.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/01/04 |

entree » ontray

Classification: English – cross-language

Spotted in the wild:

  • We only eat here twice a year its the best!! even though its sometimes a long wait its worh it! the apitizors,ontrays and deserts are amazing. (Restaurant review, July 18, 2007)
  • Does anyone know japanese Ontrays, Dinners/main courses, and/or Dessert recipes? (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 2009-01-03)
  • My boss asked me to bring two on-trays to our christmas party, but I honestly don’t know what to put on the trays. (Yahoo! Answers, accessed 2009-01-03)
  • Maybe after you have finished you could have lunch and include some ontrays (i-do.com wedding planning boards, Mar 9, 2006)

Analyzed or reported by:

This eggcorn is not very common: most people likely would try to look up an unfamiliar word if they recognize it as a borrowing from a foreign language. When it occurs, though, it is a classical cross-language eggcorn. As David Tuggy writes in his forum post:

> The imagery seems clear enough: entrees are often brought to diners on trays, so one might well think this was the reason for the name.

Note that on-tray/entree puns abound in the restaurant business, as a web search quickly shows, and that OnTray is also a brand name for a little tray-like container that attaches to shopping cart handles, used for holding snacks for children sitting in the shopping cart seat.

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2009/01/04 |

brand-new » bran-new

Classification: English – nearly mainstream – final d/t-deletion

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Ben Zimmer (Word Routes, Visual Thesaurus, Dec. 5, 2008)

Brand-new dates to 1570, but the variant bran-new was already appearing less than a century later. See the Word Routes article for a full analysis, including this eggcornic “etymythology” given by a Wiktionary contributor:

The term ‘brand new’ or ‘bran new’ was when new items were packaged up with unwanted bran grain in the 18th Century to protect the object during transit. When the item was unpacked, the owner would often find traces of bran in the item. Hence the term.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2008/12/08 |

quitclaim » quickclaim

Chiefly in:   quick claim (quickclaim) deed

Variant(s):  quick claim

Classification: English – final d/t-deletion

Spotted in the wild:

  • Legal property description — the legal description of your property is indicated on certificates of titles, warranties and even quick claim deeds. (The Lufkin Daily News, Nov 14, 2008)
  • We bought a house for our daughter. She is paying the rent, taxes and insurance. We signed a quickclaim deed and put her name on it so that she would receive the proper bills at the house address. Does that deed mean she is part owner of the house now? (Mortgagefit forum, Aug 5, 2006)
  • The company belongs to Elvin Moon, who reportedly paid Herenton $50,000 for private land, but gave the property back to Herenton for $10 in a quick claim deed. (my fox (Memphis), Nov 14, 2008)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Marian Neudel (via our posting interface)

The very common substitution of _quick claim_ (or _quickclaim_) _deed_ for the technical term _quitclaim deed_ qualifies as a very straightforward (mortgage-related) legal eggcorn.

Wikipedia informs us that a quitclaim deed is

> […] a document by which a person (the “grantor”) disclaims any interest the grantor may have in a piece of real property and passes that claim to another person (the grantee). A quitclaim deed neither warrants nor professes that the grantor’s claim is valid. By contrast, the deeds normally used for real estate sales (called grant deeds or warranty deeds, depending on the jurisdiction) contain guarantees from the grantor to the grantee that the title is clear. The exact nature of the warranties vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Quitclaim deeds are sometimes used for transfers between family members, gifts, placing personal property into a business entity, or to eliminate clouds on title, or in other special or unusual circumstances.

For the non-legal reader, this seems to mean that the term is used to describe a particularly light-weight, “quick”, way of signing property over to other people. Or in the words of our contributor Marian Neudel: “Presumably the rationale is that it is faster to process one of these than several other types of deeds, most notably warranty deeds. A quitclaim, after all, is merely a way of conveying all the rights you own in a piece of property — if any — rather than certifying that you actually own something worth conveying.”

The eggcorn is also easily understood phonetically: The hypothetical consonant cluster [tkl] in the middle of _quitclaim_ easily morphs into [ʔkl], even for speakers of dialects that do not generally realize final [t] as a glottal stop ([ʔ]). The latter would be the case for significant numbers of British English speakers (who pronounce even the word _quit_ as [kwɪʔ] instead of using the dictionary-pronunciation [kwɪt]).

| Comments Off link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2008/11/27 |