fell » fowl

Chiefly in:   one fowl swoop

Classification: English – questionable – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

The new meaning is ‘a chicken swoop’. Chickens are birds. Birds do swoop. I’m sure the intended meaning is still at least ’single’ (as in ‘a single deadly action - Oxford Concise) but I’m not sure that anyone seriously believes fowl are the most appropriate bird to convey this meaning. This must be the hen that laid the eggcorn;)

See also fell»foul.

[CW, 2005/08/29: marked as “questionable”. The substitution certainly involves a semantic reinterpretation, but phonetically, the distance between _fell_ and _fowl_ is rather a stretch.]

| link | entered by b166er, 2005/08/28 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Ryan Mattson , 2005/09/10 at 7:40 am

    Noticed this one in the wild, too: “Here’s to hoping you stick it to your lousy tooth and America’s lousy health care system in one fowl swoop!”

  2. 2

    Commentary by Rose Andrew , 2006/11/01 at 5:09 am

    It’s always nice to see more than one type of mistake in one sentence! The Useless Knowledge writer might find it useful to know where to put apostrophes too.

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