or other » or rather

Chiefly in:   something or rather

Classification: English – resyllabification

Spotted in the wild:

  • I mean the Labor Party opposed our tax plan didn’t they, they once did and now they’ve back flipped on their rollback or something or rather, I’m not quite sure. (Australian PM John Howard, interview transcript, Aug. 2, 2000)
  • Or, I could perhaps tell you what I know best, that is, something or rather about the importance of art in life no less than in Liberal Arts Education. (T. Kaori Kitao, Swarthmore commencement address, 2001)
  • So I have the P4 1.6, 512 megs of DDR, geforce 4600ti, and a nice soundblaster PCI something-or-rather. (PC Review forum, July 1, 2003)
  • But if you are having salary sacrifice for payment of your electricity bills or something or rather, I don’t think it pertains. (Australian Industrial Relations Commission transcript, Nov. 11, 2004)
  • It’s a wonderful morning Mr Walker and no doubt I will see you at the gates at Kirribilli House at some stage in the future on one of my early morning walks and you’ll be wanting my commentary about something or rather. (Australian PM John Howard, interview transcript, Apr. 30, 2005)

Analyzed or reported by:

This eggcorn appears relatively frequently in Australian sources. In the Australian vowel system, other begins with a near-open central unrounded vowel (represented as /ɐ/ or “turned-a” in IPA). This is not too distant from the first vowel in rather (/æ/, a near-open front unrounded vowel).

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2005/09/05 |


  1. 1

    Commentary by Brianna , 2005/09/19 at 12:25 am

    3 of those examples are from transcriptions from Australian government sites, and two from the PM alone. I highly doubt the PM says “something or rather” — I think it’s far more likely to just be a transcribist’s error. And to my Australian English trained ears, both words have the /ɐ/ vowel, the only difference being length.

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