do » due

Chiefly in:   make due , due or die

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “Two San Mateo County public employees… were lucky enough to not miss a single paycheck [while serving on the Scott Peterson jury], while other jurors would have had to make due with with a $15 a day court stipend…” (Palo Alto Daily News, 15 December 2004, p. 4)
  • “My sister is famous for last minute appearances but since she comes so rarely we make due and I need to capture her for some serious discussions…” (cited by Mark Mandel on ADS-L, 29 January 2005)
  • “With Floyd batting .391, the Mets have been able to make due with Mike Piazza batting .198.” (Lee Jenkins, "Mets on Edge Show Precision When It Matters", NYT, 5/5/05, D3, cited by Larry Horn on ADS-L, 5 May 2005)
  • “Cities trying to figure out how to make due with less by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio February 21, 2003″ (link)
  • Yes, I know that 5/8 of the league will be sitting at home with their hands in their pockets, but for the remaining teams that are in the Playoffs it is due-or-die time. (eNFL bulletin board, Nov. 21, 2003)
  • Today was due or die day, as I had to get Chapter 3 of my contract project down to the boss. (Eclectic Everyday blog, Oct. 21, 2004)
  • Overall that placed them 5th in the league meaning that they will face the number four ranked UCCB Capers on Friday in a due or die match. (Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland Athletics, Nov. 3, 2004)

Presumably from people who have “due” and “do” as homophones. The idiom “make do” is pretty opaque, and I guess that “due” provides some sense of obligation to the expression.

Google provides thousands of examples, among them the fourth cite above.

[Edited on 7/20/05 to add _due or die_, with examples. This manifestation of the eggcorn often appears in contexts relating to a “crunch time” when something falls due.]

See also due » do.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/05/07 |

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