slather » smother

Chiefly in:   smother on

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • “A huge thank you to X, Y, Z and W for squeezing into their kayaks and smothering on the sun block for their 58-mile, two-day race…” ("Positive Interest", newsletter of the HIV/AIDS charity Waverley Care, reported by Findlay)
  • “Smother on crackers or toasted French bread for a March Madness appetite pleaser! Raisin Apricot Chutney…” (link)
  • “Make sure you smother on moisturiser everyday, especially after exfoliating.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • Bill Findlay (e-mail of 28 July 2005)

Pretty clearly a blend of “slather on” and “smother with/in”. What makes it somewhat eggcorn-like is the substitution of the relatively frequent verb “smother” for the rare and specialized verb “slather”. And the fact that it’s modestly frequent.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2005/07/31 |

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