drawl » brawl

Chiefly in:   Southern brawl

Classification: English – questionable

Spotted in the wild:

  • She spoke with a husky Southern brawl that brought images of dusty roads and grassy plains to Misty’s mind. (link)
  • I’ve only been to Fort Worth, Houston and Dallas for a business trip. I liked it. The southern brawl especially. (link)
  • The handling on the camera and the ultra! mega! zoom was driving me up the wall. Not to mention that her southern brawl gets on my very last nerve. (link)

Marked questionable, since I’m not sure what the semantic justification here would be. _Brawl_ in the sense of ‘noisy quarrel’ or ‘loud roaring noise’ does suggest an unpleasant sound, but that’s a bit different from the prolonged speech patterns associated with _drawl_. Is this possibly a blend of _brogue_ and _drawl_?

See also drawl » draw.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/05/18 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Adrian , 2005/06/23 at 2:14 pm

    I think it’s a case of “brawl” being a much better known word than “drawl”. People don’t worry that they know the meaning of “brawl” and it doesn’t fit with what they’re trying to express. After all, lots of words have more than one meaning. All that happens is they fish in their grey matter for the right word and they latch on to something close enough.

  2. 2

    Commentary by speedwell , 2006/07/15 at 5:22 am

    I agree with Adrian. Suprisingly few people have evver heard of the word “drawl,” apparently preferring simply “accent.” So when they hear “drawl, ” “brawl” is the best they can come up with.

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