chord » cord

Chiefly in:   touch a cord

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “But in this case I wanted to speak my thoughts to lots of people, so I matched style to audience. And got about 50 letters of people for whom I’d “touched a cord” etc.” (link)
  • “He shows her photographs of his hometown, which touch a cord in her heart, and she agrees to marry him and move to Gopher Prairie.” (link)
  • “Unsworth’s enormously diverse body of works has the capacity to touch a cord in most people.” (link)

Pointed out to me in e-mail (4 June 2005) by David Fenton, who supplied the first cite above. I got 7,360 raw Google web hits for “touch a chord”, but only 608 for “touch a cord”, and many of them were about physically touching a cord of some kind — an electric cord, a cord of wood. But many were clearly re-workings of “touch a chord”, with “cord” understood as some fiber of a person’s being.

This is, of course, the reverse of “cord” >> “chord”, q.v.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/06/04 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Q. Pheevr , 2005/06/05 at 12:33 am

    Strike a cord gets about 7,750 ghits (of which, based on a cursory examination, most seem to be the eggcorn), as compared with 115,000 for strike a chord. Oddly enough, the “strike a chord” search prompted Google to ask me whether I meant “strike a cord”; I am not sure what to make of this other than that Google works in mysterious ways.

  2. 2

    Commentary by Deborah , 2005/06/06 at 5:58 pm

    And let’s not forget the reverse of this, which I have seen many times (but can’t pinpoint right now), “vocal chords.”

  3. 3

    Commentary by Declan Malone , 2006/10/24 at 2:58 pm

    Sighting: “strike a cord”…

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