sphere » spear

Chiefly in:   spear of influence

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • [Israel] functions today as a “virtual offshore U.S. military base,” in the words of Chomsky, and is the prime American foothold in the region, the tip of the spear of American influence in the Middle East. (link)
  • So this is hezb Allah, the Party of God, the spear of Iranian influence in the Levant and chief local enforcer of Syria’s occupation of Lebanon. (link)
  • At this point, I was not even really concerned with the Platts. They were little more than a nuisance… Something I could deal with. Until they demonstrated just how far their spear of influence punctured the heart of ST. (link)
  • Over the past eighteen months, Russia and China have been joining together to form their own spear of influence on their side of the globe. (link)
  • There is one area we all have to be conscious of, and perhaps through our own spear of influence we may be able to assist with, is that we are seeing more and more PTSD cases coming than we ever have before. (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

This is one of the eggcorns that show how word choice can slide under the pressure of what could be called the metaphoric potential of a word. For _sphere_ and _spear_, these are quite different: a sphere is a container, homogeneous, round, can grow or shrink; a spear is long and pointed, a weapon.

The substitution _sphere»spear_ can occur as a spell checking artifact, too. But none the less it looks like a genuine eggcorn for at least some writers.

| link | entered by Chris Waigl, 2005/04/02 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Elizabeth , 2005/04/04 at 7:59 am

    “Put those clean linen napkins in the chester drawers.”

    [instead of chest of drawers]

  2. 2

    Commentary by L. , 2005/04/09 at 9:26 am

    WRT Sphere v spear, you also see this in the world of folk music where there is a well known Irish tune called The Silver Spear which sometimes appears with the name The Silver Sphere.

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