oats » oaks

Chiefly in:   sow one's wild oaks

Classification: English – idiom-related

Spotted in the wild:

  • Betty Jean loves Ezekiel with her heart and soul. She hopes he will sow his wild oaks soon and will finally be able to love only her. (Amazon member review, for "Are You Satisfied, Yet?")
  • So if you are into artsy films with over the top romance this movie is for you . . . Just watch out for ape/wolf man thing sowing his wild oaks. (Amazon member review, for "Bram Stoker's Dracula" DVD)
  • This kid took a summer off to try and sow some wild oaks in the music industry. Didn’t pan out. (alt.sports.football.pro.jville-jaguars, Apr. 21, 2000)
  • Some people spend the first six days of the week sowing wild oaks and then go to church on Sunday to pray for crop failure! (National Christian Choir, Director's Notes, Feb. 27, 2006)
  • I sowed a lot of wild oaks in my youth. When the crop came in I was in the fast lane on highway to hell. (Courttv.com message board, May 4, 2006)
  • I didn’t want to be all uptight about my body. I wanted to soar my wild oaks. (What it feels like..., May 17, 2006)

The substitution of oaks for oats in this expression is sometimes used as a joke (though note that two of the examples above involve jokes about “crops” that actually make less sense with oaks). It’s possible that this eggcorn appears more frequently in dialects where postvocalic stops like /t/ and /k/ are glottalized, though the /k/-/t/ alternation is not uncommon in wider usage (see, for instance, buck naked » butt naked). The last example (provided by slangologist Grant Barrett) is a double eggcorn, combining the oaks substitution with sow » soar (a non-rhotic substitution like sought after » sort after).

See also soak one’s wild oats.

| link | entered by Ben Zimmer, 2006/05/19 |

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