soup » supe

Chiefly in:   suped-up

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • Noxious fumes spurted from the oversized exhaust pipes as suped-up engines revved to deafening effect. (Chapel Hill News, Oct 22, 2005)
  • And the current generation are technology hot-roders who want to supe up cars like the Prius — not with tail fins, but technology and hardware like advanced battery packs. (, October 20, 2005)
  • Participants ranging from suped-up SUVs to military behemoths will be graded on how well they can self-drive on rough road, make sharp turns and avoid obstacles — hay bales, trash cans, wrecked cars — while relying on GPS navigation and sensors, radar, lasers and cameras that feed information to computers. (Globe and Mail, September 28, 2005)
  • Forget cars. The new hot think is suping up your chainsaw. (

Analyzed or reported by:

On October 25, 2005, our contributor Kaz Vorpal entered the putative substitution _supe up»soup up_ in the database, with the following note:

> When you supe up a car, you are making the car super, or supercharging it. Not adding a liquified meal.
> The supercharger was patented in 1900.

This only goes to show how easy it is to create an eggcorn. The original form is indeed _soup up_. Arnold Zwicky supplied the following references:

> AHD4 and NOAD2 both have *only* “soup up”, AHD without further comment, NOAD suggesting that “super-” might have influenced the formation. OED2 has no entry for “supe” v., but does have “soup up” v. from 1931 (in “souped up”), which it suggests might have been influenced by “super-”, but otherwise derives from the following sense of “soup” n.:
> 1911 Webster’s Dict., Soup, any material injected into a horse with a view to changing its speed or temperament.

NSOED and Merriam-Webster Online also cite _soup up_ only.

| 4 comments | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/10/26 |

desert » dessert

Chiefly in:   just desserts

Variant(s):  (eat one's) just deserts

Classification: English – hidden – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • And, at the same time, if someone committed a murder and confessed to a priest in hopes of salvation/forgiveness/etc. one would hope they have the balls to walk up to the plate and eat their just desserts. (, July 24, 2001)
  • I mean, for the past 500 comics I’ve been waiting for Thief to eat his just desserts…and every time that he’s come close it never happend. But now…when he came close to being right… Oh god. (Nuclear Power Forums, July 14, 2005)
  • But the gutless little fuckin coward probably wouln’t come out of his hole.No different than sadam or osama.I just believe this puke needs to eat his just desert before, he slitters his way of this rock. (blog comment, February 10, 2004)
  • This is no formulaic D&D romp; you won’t find invincible heroes and stalwart dwarves singing about gold, you won’t see fragile maidens swooning over a stout swordarm, you most certainly won’t reach a happy ending, with all the loose ends tied and all the bad guys eating their just desserts while the good guys pair off and ride into the sunset. ( customer review, July 21, 1999)

Analyzed or reported by:

_Get one’s just desserts_ has been suggested as a potential eggcorn a number of times. It is not an unproblematic reshaping, however: inadvertent double/single consonant misspellings are extremely common, as this web search shows. I have therefore collected examples that include further circumstantial evidence that the author thought of _dessert_ as something edible. This is why the occurrences employ the verb _eat_ instead of _get_. As always, it is necessary to weed out intentional puns.

When the context is that of a meal, but the word spelled _desert_ (correctly for the idiom, but an error if the target is _dessert_), we have either an inadvertent slip or a writer who remembers their spelling lessons for _getting one’s just deserts_. The eggcorn then becomes effectively a hidden one.

| 2 comments | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/09/21 |

by and by » bye and bye

Classification: English – nearly mainstream – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Children it’s bye, bye, better bye and bye / We will understand it better bye and bye.” (link)
  • “You will eat, bye and bye, In that glorious land above the sky; Work and pray, live on hay You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” (link)
  • “I said bye and bye I’m going to see the King Bye and bye I am going to see the King … Bye and bye I will hear the angel sing And I don’t mind dying, …” (link)
  • “The Chippendales would get their money bye and bye, he replied. “Bye and bye!” she shrieked like a jackdaw. “We’ll need a joint of beef a damn sight sooner…” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Jim Heckman (sci.lang posting of 4 August 2005)

“Bye” occurs occasionally as a variant spelling of “by”, including in the idiom “by and by” ‘in a while’ (for which the OED has cites from 1330, in the modern sense from 1526; the OED has no separate entry for “bye and bye”). But, especially in hymns and folk songs, the expression “bye-bye” (from “good-bye”, from “god be with you”, with no involvement of “by” at all) seems to have been imported into the spelling of “by and by”, no doubt because it contributes its sense of saying farewell (to this bad world). This is pretty clearly the case in my first cite.

The spelling “bye and bye” is frequent: 45,700 raw Google webhits, as against 642,000 for “by and by”. These counts are inflated by many repeated appearances of lines from songs — but both counts are inflated, and by many of the same songs.

In a further interesting twist, people occasionally declare that “by(e) and by(e)” means ‘in the past’. This might be a consequence of the janus-faced nature of “bye-bye”, which looks both into the past and towards the future.

| 1 comment | link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/08/05 |

hear » here

Chiefly in:   here, here

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

  • With regard to the E-fingerprinting of welfare recipients, and its potential long range spread to other social service provisions, I say here, here! (Computer Underground Digest, July 27, 1993)
  • Thank you very much Michael and I can only say here, here, and I’ll tell Mayor Campbell you did a wonderful job of representing him here today and we are very pleased to have you to be here at this session. (SSA public forum transcript, June 10, 1997)
  • Here here! I agree completely. (OSNews forum, July 14, 2003)

Analyzed or reported by:

Googlehits for _here, here, I agree_ outnumber those for _hear, hear, I agree_ about 2 to 1.

See explanations for the origin of the expression hear, hear, and hear.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/08/02 |

pike » pipe

Chiefly in:   coming down the pipe

Classification: English – nearly mainstream

Spotted in the wild:

Analyzed or reported by:

To “come down the pike” is an idiomatic slang expression where “pike” is an abbreviation of “turnpike.” (See definition below) It is extremely common, however, for people to say “come down the pipe” instead, which is clearly a reshaping based on a phonetic error combined with a semantic reinterpretation. Both are metaphors.

An interesting possible semantic difference: while a turnpike has barriers which must be overcome (as toll gates), a pipe generally does not. The original phrase using “pike” may have been meant to signify a “coming into prominence” that will occur once obstacles are overcome, while the eggcorn using “pipe” may emphasize that the “coming into prominence” is inevitable and only a matter of time.

pike³ (pīk) n.

  1. A turnpike.
    1. a. A tollgate on a turnpike.
      b. A toll paid.

intr.v. piked, pik·ing, pikes

To move quickly.

come down the pike

To come into prominence: “a policy… allowing for little flexibility if an important new singer comes down the pike” (Christian Science Monitor).

| 9 comments | link | entered by thiebes, 2005/07/14 |