sliver » slither

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “for example, a crowded beach, with a slither of sky in the background. … billowing clouds on a blue sky, with a slither of beach in the foreground.” (link)
  • “Another favorite is a slither of “Serrano” or “Jabuga” ham from Andulucia accompanied with a slice of bread and a beer or Dry Sherry” (link)

James Cochrane, Between You and I, just says that “sliver” is “often confused with” “slither”, without examples or any indication of the direction of the substitution. Eggcorning is usually strongly in one direction, with the more familiar or frequent item replacing the less familiar/frequent one, rather than the reverse. In this case, I wouldn’t have thought that “slither” and “sliver” (which are phonologically very close) differed much in frequency or familiarity. And it turns out that there are replacements in both directions. Googling on 2 April 2005 turned up ca. 978 raw web hits on “a slither of”, two of them provided above.

See also “slither” >> “sliver”.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/04/02 |

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