pale » pail

Chiefly in:   beyond the pail

Classification: English – not an eggcorn

Spotted in the wild:

  • “… to both explain and construct human psychology based on these ideas and thus restrict it, somewhat, within this sphere; all else lies beyond the pail.” (link)
  • “Calling other candidates “wolves in the manger” is beyond the pail.” (link)

Analyzed or reported by:

  • David Scriven (link)
  • Arnold Zwicky (link)

On 2005/02/16 , Scriven reported “2,150 Google hits, most of which appear to use it as a pun.” (There are now about five times that number.) But there are some that seem to be serious.

In my Language Log piece I maintain that this error is the result of treating “beyond the [pel]” as an unanalyzable idiom and using a familiar spelling (”pail”) for the baffling part [pel] (representing a now-obsolete noun “pale”). So, not an eggcorn, but a related type of error (which I decided to call “pails”, from this very case). There might, of course, be a few people out there who have managed to see pails in the idiom.

| link | entered by Arnold Zwicky, 2007/08/16 |

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