ratify » radify

Classification: English – questionable – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • “I think it’s due to the new constitution radification that is about to happen.” (e-mail from a soldier correspondent in Iraq, reported by Rudolph)
  • “The Finance Committee would request that the board radify their action. … Ben Click moved and Ray Hanna seconded the motion to radify the action of the …” (link)
  • “Then and only then will the membership VOTE to radify or not radify the TENTATIVE AGEEMENT.” (link)
  • “… and works to ascertain God’s leading as to whom should fill certain positions within our congregation, the full congregation radifies these appointments in …” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Ken Rudolph (Usenet newsgroup soc.motss, 27 August 2005)

Not a rare spelling for “ratify”: raw Google web hits on 29 August 2005:

radification: 1,070
radified: 13,400 (most related to “rad” rather than “ratify”)
radify: 649
radifies: 89
radifying: 82

Most of these are probably simple misspellings, but “rad(ical)” might have contributed to some of them, which would bring them into eggcorn territory.

| Comments Off link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/08/30 |

coded » coated

Chiefly in:   color-coated

Variant(s):  colour-coated

Classification: English – /t/-flapping

Spotted in the wild:

  • The key maps are colour-coated depending on which party won the ridings shown on the map. (Wikipedia, Canadian federal election, 2004 map gallery, revision as of 07:44, 9 October 2004)
  • Also it’s color coated so the colors change to match the channel it’s sending audio out of. (electronic music, ad, May 12 2005)
  • Color Coated Inputs (The mobilevideo Store)
  • Color Coated Cutting Boards
    These color coated cutting boards leave no question as to which board is in use and what possible contamination hazards might be present with that particular food item. (link)

The existence of color-coding - assigning meanings to colors - and color-coating - coating things (paper, metal, etc.) with a coat of color - seems to have led to some confusion about which is which. In some of the above examples, both phrases appear as if interchangeable. After all, if something is color coded, it must be coated with a color, right? Not if it’s not a color coating (which seems to be more of an industrial term) but, say, an item dyed that color.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ann Burlingham, 2005/08/25 |

Adam » atom

Chiefly in:   know so. from atom

Classification: English – /t/-flapping – proper names – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Gee, look, assholes, the world’s now a different place and your situation has so much improved b/c you killed defenseless citizens that didn’t know you from atom and have no bearing on whatever bullshit persecutions you feel you’ve faced. (filmrot.com, comment, July 7, 2005)
  • Or you don’t know me from atom and you’ve only just discovered my blog today, but you are impressed with how utterly confident I sound in propounding my hypothesis, so you figure I must be right and you start telling everybody you meet that they should read “The Thinking Toolbox” because it is the best book ever written on the subject. (Christian Logic.com Catalog)
  • Eminem had a track, which was dope. But they shaped the sound of that record and fucked the game up. Now here comes a ni99a like me comes along. He don’t know me from atom, man. (Interview with 9th Wonder, October 30, 2003)
  • Someone who talks shit about me and faces me afterwards gains respect from me even if I don’t like what they have to say. While someone who hides behind the scenes and doesn’t know me from atom but talks shit about me just makes me wonder if they need to get a life. (Les Femmes Cafe, guestbook entry)
  • Don’t know you from atom. I have no problem with you. (alt.sys.pc-clone.packardbell, Nov 9, 1998)

I had the idea of searching for this eggcorn when I heard a speaker from Scotland talk about people who “don’t know him from Adam” (presumably) with a pronunciation that sounded like _atom_.

Arnold Zwicky pointed out in e-mail that this is also a potential case of a /t/-flapping substitution, which is typical for American English.

| 1 comment | link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/08/06 |

trade » trait

Chiefly in:   jack of all traits

Classification: English – /t/-flapping – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Useful at being a jack-of-all-traits, Friberg was given full visual artistic authority on set in almost every stage. (Meridian Magazine, Mar. 8, 2003)
  • Another classic tenet in evolutionary ecology is that a generalist phenotype cannot excel in any particular function (i.e., a jack of all traits is a master of none). (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, conference paper abstract, Jan. 2004)
  • While it appears that the business development person has to be a jack of all traits, this is far from the truth. (Oaktree Research, May 20, 2004)
  • Besides that, this program also hopes to develop the students into a jack-of-all-traits in other fields in addition to the academics. (doctorjob.com.my, July 28, 2004)

Makes sense, since someone skilled at a variety of tasks ought to be “multifeatured” as well.

(The example in the biology paper abstract above appears to be an intentional pun.)

See also traitor » trader.

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/20 |

tried » trite

Chiefly in:   trite and true

Classification: English – /t/-flapping – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • There’s a strong incentive to go for the trite and true, to aim for a niche of the market — like 18-to-25-year-old men — and program only sure-fire material to reach them. (Beat Radio, February 9, 1999)
  • This self-published 133-page book is easy-to-read, and is no re-tread of the trite-and-true. (tarotpassages.com)
  • Forget the trite-and-true rhetoric of the past, folks, because Spurrier is anything but hackneyed. (ESPN)
  • When it comes to football styles, the preference is for low-tech, for the trite and true. For most Steelers fans, “finesse” is about as despicable as, well, the other “F-bomb.” (ESPN)

Analyzed or reported by:

[Both occurrences on ESPN.com are taken from articles written by the same journalist, Len Pasquarelli.]

A great number of the occurrences of this eggcorn look like blends of the idiom _tried and true_ and the adjective _trite_. There are also examples that employ all three elements:

* Having determined that a truly polite garden is one that is safe, subdued, doesn’t incite undue envy and isn’t likely to disturb the onlooker, she is in a quandary about how to remedy her yard without resorting to the tried, the true and the trite. (link)

There is nothing illogical about, say, a cliché or a film script being at the same time trite and, at least in the opinion of the writer, true. Examples of this only marginally eggcornish usage and of another very common combination of the two adjectives, “trite, but true”, abound:

* What is trite and true about love applies as well to politics: It takes two to tango. (link)
* We begin to know that “As a man thinketh so is he” is a very trite and true saying in regard to his financial affairs, as well as everything else. (link)
* It’s trite but true: voters hate disunity. (link)

The juxtaposition of _trite_ and _true_ is not recent. A page that collects quotes falsely attributed to Winston Churchill has the following citation from his book _Great Contemporaries_ (London & New York, 1937, last reprinted 1990), which is a quote Churchill attributes to Arthur J. Balfour:

> ‘there were some things that were true, and some things that were trite; but what was true was trite, and what was not trite was not true’

| Comments Off link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/07/18 |