mince » mix

Chiefly in:   mix words

Classification: English

Spotted in the wild:

  • He certainly didn’t mix words as he described the ups and downs of the acting profession. (link)
  • He didn’t mix words, pull any punches. (link)
  • You don’t mix words at your concerts. (link)
  • P: I think it’s because we’re a very emotional, passionate band, we don’t mince words, we don’t mix words, I mean if I got something to say, generally I say it. (link)

Watching “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” today (on a channel that fuzzed people’s mouths as they swore) sent me to imdb.com to read about the cast, in one of whose biographies I found the above “He certainly didn’t mix words…” I went to Google and found only thirty uses of “didn’t mix words,” but several of those included an immediate rephrasing, such as the quoted “didn’t mix words, pull any punches” that suggest a variation on the phrase “didn’t mince words.” “Don’t mix words comes back with many uses that are distinctly along the lines of “don’t mix words and “, but some are also, as quoted at the Christianity Today site, of the mince/mix type.

This *feels* like an eggcorn to me. I read overtones of “mixing it up” - fighting, whether physically or verbally - in the usage, which goes with the slightly aggressive (pugnacious?) attitude someone who doesn’t mince words might have. I also wonder if there are any elements of mixing as used in music - that words are mixed in rap songs, so there can be people who do or do not mix them. Ah - and in one quote, both phrases are used: “we don’t mince words, we don’t mix words…” - if reported correctly (it’s in an interview), does the speaker see the phrases as distinct?

I can’t find any “mixmeat” hits that seem to mean “mincemeat”. It looks like words are mixed, or not.

| link | entered by Ann Burlingham, 2006/11/20 |

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