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#1 2007-01-22 14:01:15

MartyArtie
Member
From: Teddington, Middlesex
Registered: 2006-11-03
Posts: 23

Noisy smoke

In a report in the online Guardian of a very nasty attack on a family’s home by arsonists, one of the family was quoted as saying: “”I actually heard rustling on the letterbox, I went to have a look and there was smoke bellowing out of the box.”

Hard to say if this was the speaker’s error in the first place, or the Guardian reporter’s (or the news agency that probably sent the story in) or even a typo. But “smoke bellowed out” ” gets some 130 Google hits, against 14,300 for “smoke billowed out”.

Billow as a word is probably a lot less familiar to people than to bellow, and bellowing smoke somehow gives a much more aggressive image than the more gentle-sounding billow, with its soft hint of “pillow”. Looks eggcornish to me …

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#2 2007-01-22 14:26:01

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 981

Re: Noisy smoke

..and to me too. ‘Smoke bellowing’ yields 862 ghits and is a strangely powerful image – a serious fire does of course make a fearsome noise, often described as a ‘roar’, which isn’t dissimilar to a bellow.

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#3 2007-01-22 14:28:09

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Noisy smoke

For “smoke bellowed out” to be an eggcorn, someone would actually have to believe that the smoke shouted out in a deep voice. I find this unlikely and would probably classify the construction as a malapropism or a simple misspelling.

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#4 2007-01-24 12:45:55

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 981

Re: Noisy smoke

jorkel’s right of course, and I am not alone in being much too readily seduced by by an interesting image; on the other hand though, the Eggcorn Database includes more dubious examples than this one and since they must be regarded as examplar material it is little wonder that there are difficulties in disentangling eggcorns and their many near relatives. jorkel’s rigour and industriousness would, I feel, make him a reliable and consistent gatekeeper.

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#5 2007-01-24 13:34:57

jorkel
Eggcornista
Registered: 2006-08-08
Posts: 1455

Re: Noisy smoke

Peter almost convinced me that this could be an eggcorn, by the way. (I think eggcorn hunters tend to be clever and openminded so much that we tend to believe our own madeup imagery). However, I think the ultimate deciding factor will be the examples themselves. If someone were to find an example where “bellow” is used in the context of a fire and there were a distinct (separate) reference to the noise, then I’d be convinced that it’s an eggcorn.

Now having said that, I would offer the following alternative imagery: perhaps people’s confusion between “billow” and “bellow” stems from their knowledge of a bellows (a pleated, expansible mechanical device that draws air—smoke?—through it upon contracting). So, smoke may be thought to “bellow” out almost as if by the action of a bellows.

One things for sure: there sure are a lot of examples of “bellow” used in reference to smoke…

Foto Flo
I had a couple good shots of flames and fire fighters when I started to watch this black smoke bellow out of the attic and cover up the sun. ...
apictureaday.photopholio.com/archives/7639_1091681415/205381
http://apictureaday.photopholio.com/arc … 415/205381

Last edited by jorkel (2007-01-24 13:52:41)

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#6 2017-10-09 11:04:23

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1190

Re: Noisy smoke

Watching a news video of the fires that, even as I write this, are gobbling up much of the area to the north and east of me, I could have sworn the newscaster said “bellowing smoke”, so I’m resurrecting this thread.

jorkel wrote:

For “smoke bellowed out” to be an eggcorn, someone would actually have to believe that the smoke shouted out in a deep voice. I find this unlikely and would probably classify the construction as a malapropism or a simple misspelling.

I would suggest that poetic license allows uses of the word “bellow” to refer to sounds that aren’t literally voiced by animals (human or otherwise), especially if they bear some resemblance to animal bellows, as with the roaring or howling of an inferno. But, as it turns out, we don’t even need to invoke poetic license or metaphor, as there are perfectly good dictionary definitions that allow for a wider definition of “bellow” than just animal sounds. A couple of examples: Oxford Dictionaries: “A deep roaring shout or sound.” American Heritage Dictionary: “A very loud utterance or other sound.” [emphases mine] Bellow << billow is an eggcorn, damn it!

Last edited by Dixon Wragg (2017-10-16 14:49:55)

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#7 2017-10-09 11:35:20

Dixon Wragg
Eggcornista
From: Cotati, California
Registered: 2008-07-04
Posts: 1190

Re: Noisy smoke

And it’s a round-tripper!

Rows of Fireplace Billows at Souk in Marrakech, Morocco
I was surprised to see displays of fireplace billows in the souks.
photo description
(Plus, a bonus! Just a few lines below the one I quoted above, the writer says “What a great way to blow the ambers under burning logs on a very cold, winter evening.” Amber << ember has been discussed before, here.)

I believe the man, is trying to fix the fireplace billows for the fire for cooking.
art print description

Dallas Green always had a billowing voice. But on one summer’s day in 1994, he needed not a single word to describe the emotions he felt as Cindy Lauper sang the National Anthem at Shea Stadium.
obit

The number in question was “Children of the Damned,” a vintage Maiden slow burner dating back to 1982.
Dickinson was 23 when he first gave billowing voice to the fan favorite.
heavy metal article

The robloxian said in a billowing voice “I am your new leader! Obey me or you shall be destroyed or forced into torture!”
story

A bellowing voice can easily be visualized as billows of sound issuing from someone’s mouth, much like billows of smoke. I think this puts us in Eggcorn City.

Last edited by Dixon Wragg (2017-10-09 11:46:20)

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