ringer » wringer

Chiefly in:   dead wringer

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • At 46, Feeley is a dead wringer for Henry Winkler, but speaks with the controlled growl of Clint Eastwood. (Philadelphia Business Journal)
  • Highly dramatic and darkly pretty, Palmer’s voice is a dead wringer for Tori Amos’s. (NY Rock Confidential)
  • Benigni plays a simple guy who ends up being a dead wringer for a local gangster. (Epinions.com)

This eggcorn shows the flip side of “(put through the) ringer.” The original expression “dead ringer” is quite opaque (”ringer” in the relevant sense originally referred to a horse “fraudulently substituted for another” in a race (OED), apparently in an allusion to “ringing the changes” on bells), so it is not surprising to find some confusion here with the homophonous “wringer.”

| link | entered by Q. Pheevr, 2005/02/17 |

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