Eggcorn Forum

Discussions about eggcorns and related topics

You are not logged in.

Announcement

Registrations are currently closed because of a technical problem. Please send email to if you wish to register.

The forum administrator reserves the right to request users to plausibly demonstrate that they are real people with an interest in the topic of eggcorns. Otherwise they may be removed with no further justification. Likewise, accounts that have not been used for posting may be removed.

Thanks for your understanding.

Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2019-06-05 14:09:59

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2317
Website

belie < reveal

I am surprised not to find this already discussed, but anyway …

The fact that “inference” has not been used much in theories of communication or of translation belies the fact that the interpretive/inferential role of the hearer/reader has not been in focus.

MEDIA REACTION to the release last week of “My Grandfather’s Son” by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been noteworthy in two respects: First, while the general coverage across the country had been even-handed and fair, some journalists feel compelled to express their views of the book and the justice in terms that are so negative and personalized that they seem to belie a deep anger toward the man and what he stands for; second, others in the press are being chastised by their peers for not being critical enough of the book.

Mary’s voice further belied the gentleness of her spirit, her tones both light and soft yet not requiring one to strain to hear her.

Though the light blush of her countenance belied her discomfort, she interacted valiantly, and with all the charm you would expect of her station.

When I look into your eyes and see such undeserved love looking back at me, I can scarce catch my breath. I know that it is totally unmerited and that I am the most fortunate of men. It is all I can do to keep from taking you in my arms.” ¶ His actions belied his words as he enfolded Elizabeth in his arms.

He gave her a soft smile but it did not reach his eyes, which clearly belied his sadness to her.

her eyes were clear and she stood up straighter, belying a confidence that she now truly felt.

Dr. Fuchs and his fellow public-health avengers have made critical analytical errors that belie their actual goal: a creeping vine of restrictions on access to firearms that, in their most lurid dreams, would eventually make gun ownership illegal.

His chuckle belied his amusement

Beyond his appearance, his manners belie a man who is hiding something.

This seems to be standard for quite a few speakers/writers, and has appeared in published materials.
.
It is one of the cases where something comes to mean a sort of opposite to what it originally meant. Standardly, it should mean:
.
“1. (of an appearance) fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict. … ¶ synonyms: contradict, be at odds with, call into question, give the lie to, show/prove to be false; […] conceal, cover, disguise, misrepresent, falsify, distort, warp, put a spin on, color;
give a false idea of, give a false account of “he made a lighthearted speech which belied his deep disappointment” ¶ antonyms: testify to, reveal.¶
.
2. fail to fulfill or justify (a claim or expectation); betray. [example:] “the notebooks belie Darwin’s later recollection””
.
It is used in the cases above to mean precisely “testify to, reveal”. So what is happening? The standard usage you might paraphrase as “deny”; the new one is essentially “affirm”.
.
There may be some malapropistic substitution for similar-sounding words going on. The semantic similarity (antonyms are semantically close to each other) may be at work in that happening. Suspects would include betray and bespeak at least. And the first of these is actually given as a suggested definition in sense 2. above. Maybe that is the bridge for the newer usage?
.
In the standard usage the object is the covering pretense, not the uncovered inner reality, and the subject is the behavior that reveals that inner reality. By betraying (or is it portraying? in any case revealing) that non-object (what one really thinks or feels), the subject of the verb shows that the people involved have lied (it belies them < gives them the lie), by showing that the covering pretense (the object) is a lie. In the newer usage, that inner opinion/belief/feeling is the object of the verb, and the lie or pretense (now a non-object of the verb) is therefore shown up (revealed) for what it is (belied, or given the lie). So in a way it is just a slight switch in which of two semantically prominent entities is given the status of direct object.
.
It gets complicated. No wonder people get mixed up.

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-06-07 20:21:45)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

Offline

 

#2 2019-06-10 14:32:21

yanogator
Eggcornista
From: Ohio
Registered: 2007-06-07
Posts: 214

Re: belie < reveal

I see it as very similar to the common mistake of using “infer” for “imply”.

Bruce


“I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

Offline

 

#3 2019-06-12 10:15:50

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2317
Website

Re: belie < reveal

Yes, I can see that.


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

Offline

 

#4 2019-06-14 00:19:32

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2699

Re: belie < reveal

I’m fumdownded by this. Had no idea that this semantic turn was happening. And no explanation why it should be happening. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, misusing a word may be regarded as a misfortune, to make it mean the opposite looks like carelessness.


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

Offline

 

#5 2019-06-14 11:51:04

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2699

Re: belie < reveal

Any other words out there that are doing semantic slumming? Mike Pope just called attention in a tweet to “droll” = boring. https://twitter.com/mikepope/status/1139395839359537152


Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.

Offline

 

#6 2019-06-15 08:05:00

DavidTuggy
Eggcornista
From: Mexico
Registered: 2007-10-11
Posts: 2317
Website

Re: belie < reveal

Droll < dull seems completely standard for some.

Nestled by parklands, the hospital façade itself was unremarkably droll and dreary.

I trust that you would make any subject, no matter how droll, to be the most amusing and exciting.

If you should be so lucky to speak to him, and he so lucky to meet you, I caution you that droll topics of the weather and the appearance of the roads will only discomfort him and no doubt, frustrate you. … Be assured my dear brother; we only spoke of the drollest of topics.

I also have droll < dullness :

The droll of the morning meal seemed neverending, and it was only Mr. Bingley’s attempts to be social that helped the food go down at all.

Also drolly < drily :

“Is she not the most beautiful girl in the room?” she gushed as she patted her precious daughter’s face. ¶ “She is not” he answered drolly. “What else should I know?” he asked impatiently, wanting to bring this ridiculous discussion to an end.

It does seem to me to be a blending of dry and perhaps dreary with dull , and perhaps drone (on and on) .
.
I don’t see any striking eggcornicity to it, apart from the contrariness of the meanings ( droll meaning ‘(drily) humorous’ implies ‘interesting, entertaining’, which are opposites of ‘dull’.) Conceivably there is a connection through the dryness of droll humor: it may pass unperceived by many, who then indeed think the speech or behavior embodying it are dull?

Last edited by DavidTuggy (2019-06-15 08:08:11)


*If the human mind were simple enough for us to understand,
we would be too simple-minded to understand it* .

(Possible Corollary: it is, and we are .)

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB
PunBB is © 2002–2005 Rickard Andersson
Individual posters retain the copyright to their posts.

RSS feeds: active topicsall new posts