Sunday, March 16, 2008

My Favorite Eggcorns

As I wrote in my last Flip of the Tongue post, I discovered the Eggcorn database the other day. An eggcorn is similar to a malapropism, and also to the misuse of homonyms, but with the following differences:

Not every homophone substitution is an eggcorn. The crucial element is that the new form makes sense: for anyone except lexicographers or other people trained in etymology, more sense than the original form in many cases... Thus, thumbs down for definately and they’re / there house (not eggcorns, just phonetic misspellings: the non-standard versions don’t make any more sense than, or reinterpret the meaning of the standard versions), but thumbs up for for all intensive purposes. (quoted from the About page of the Eggcorn database)
Here are my favorite eggcorns listed in the database.

Homer Simpson drivingDashboard stomach for "washboard stomach" -- I imagine that this would be the way to describe Homer Simpson's physique.

Pus jewel for "pustule" -- This seems like the very definition of an eggcorn. It actually makes more sense than the original.

Cut to the cheese for "cut to the chase" -- I'm always a fan of any example that combines two phrases, especially when one of them has a scatalogical meaning.

Conjunctive heart failure for "congestive heart failure" -- I imagine this is what all of us English majors will die from one day.

The Geico gecko with a word ballon that says Take it from me...From the gecko for "from the get-go" -- With a sponsorship deal from Geico, the possibilities for this one are almost endless.

Chewy nugget for "chewy nougat" -- Yum! Can't you just taste that delicious chicken nugget.

Like a bowl in a china shop for "like a bull in a china shop" -- I love how the mundanity of this mental image completely contradicts the original.

And probably my all-time favorite:

Cognitive dissidence for "cognitive dissonance." I wish I'd heard this one before I started this blog -- I probably would have used it for the title.

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