Here we go again.
Remember a while back when we learned misheard song lyrics had a name – mondegreens?
Well, I just found out that commonly mispronounced sayings and phrases also have a name.
They’re called eggcorns, in recognition of those big oblong seeds that fall from oak trees each autumn.
There are way more eggcorns in everyday use than you would think. It’s almost as though an unaware person could carry on a complete conversation using only eggcorns, and be perfectly understood by the average listener.
I won’t speculate on what this says about the state of the English language, but I have dark suspicions.
This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but it will get us started thinking about what we say and how we say it. (The eggcorn comes first, with the proper words in parentheses)
Abject lesson (object lesson), all in all (all and all), another words (in other words), bad wrap (bad rap), beckon call (beck and call), black and red fish (blackened redfish), butt naked (buck naked), Cadillac converter (catalytic converter), chalk full (chock full), deep-seeded (deep-seated), doggy-dog world (dog-eat-dog world), every since (ever since), far be it for me (far be it from me), for all intensive purposes (for all intents and purposes).
Hare’s breath (hair’s breadth), Howard be thy name (hallowed by thy name), hone in on (home in on), must of (must have), neck in neck (neck and neck), new leash on life (new lease on life), bag of shells (bagatelles), Old Timers Disease (Alzheimers Disease) , on tenderhooks (on tenterhooks), one in the same (one and the same), road to hoe (row to hoe), rod iron (wrought iron), this day in age (this day and age), safety deposit box (safe deposit box), spurt of the moment (spur of the moment), trite and true (tried and true), untolled (untold), wet one’s appetite (whet one’s appetite), windshield factor, also Winchell factor (wind chill factor).
Any of those sound familiar?
Oh, and since we last visited the subject, I’ve also come across a few more mondegreens.
In the usual order:
Elvis – Everybody in a wholesale frock – Jailhouse Rock
Madonna – Like a virgin, touched for the thirty-first time – Like A Virgin.
Roberta Flack – Stuffing my face with his fingers – Killing Me Softly.
Journey – Smelly wine and sheep perfume – On And On.
Eagles – Warm smell of policemen, rising up through the air – Hotel California.
Kim Carnes – All the boys think she’s a spaz, she’s got better days, besides – Bette Davis Eyes.
Jimmy Buffet – Blew out my flip flop, stepped on a Pop Tart – Margaritaville.
Simon & Garfunkel – Are you going to starve an old mare? – Scarborough Fair.
Ray Charles – Come shave my heart – Unchain My Heart.
Beatles – Happy as a rafter in the market place – O-bla-di.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – I wanna know, have you ever seen Lorraine? – Have You Ever Seen The Rain.
Rolling Stones – I’ll never leave your pizza burning. – Beast Of Burden.
Juice Newton – Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby. – Angel Of The Morning.
Kate Smith – Through the night, with a light from a bulb. – America, America.
Monkees – Then I saw her face, now I’m gonna leave her – I’m A Believer.
Unknown – Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me (I Come To The Garden Alone)
INTERESTING HOLIDAYS THIS WEEK: June 17 - Eat Your Vegetables Day; 18th - National Day to Splurge; 19th - World Sauntering Day; 21st - Go Skate Day. Enjoy.