undue » undo

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “The perception of undo influence concerns Nils Jensen.” (link)
  • “Section 1194.4 defines undo burden as “significant difficulty or expense” … computer forensic investigator would cause undo burden on that agency …” (link)
  • “I still believe in the hand-in-hand concepts of separation of church and state and absolute freedom to worship, in the rights of the states to govern themselves without undo federal interference, and in the host of other things that defined me as a Republican.” (The Register Guard, June 26, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • commenter Doug Orleans (link)

The reverse of “do” >> “due” in “make due”, and, like it, probably dependent on a homophony between “do” and “due”, but (as commenter Doug Orleans notes) more likely to be just a spelling error, since it’s hard to see any semantic contribution from “do”. Now (as of 13 July 2005) Chris Waigl notes some semantic support for the reanalysis: “undo influence” might be seen as destructive, or leading to the disintegration (that is, undoing) of something.

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


  1. 1

    Commentary by Arnold Zwicky , 2005/05/10 at 4:06 pm

    The exactly opposite substitution, “undo” >> “undue”, is also attested. From Larry Horn in e-mail, 10 May 2005 (whew!):

    She whimpered slightly and kissed him back, then let her soft white hands undue the top of his trousers as he hiked up her skirt and laid his palm on her magnificently hot and wet vulva, which was now crying through her panties for attention. (english.literotica.com/st…)

    A Google search on “undue the buttons” gets several dozen hits, most (but not all) of them in similarly racy contexts.

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