Mondegreens and Eggcorns

February 14, 2008 Pop Culture, Writing Comments (0) 184

Today I came across the Wikipedia entry for “eggcorn,” a recently-coined linguistic term that describes one of my ultimate pet peaves. I know I should be forgiving, but to my mind few things make a person seem stupid than the use of a term they have mis-heard or misunderstood, an “eggcorn.”

A few examples:
“For all intensive purposes”
“Once and a while”
“The spurt of the moment”
…and, of course, the eponymous “eggcorn.”

My own pet peaves aside, what was really interesting to me was the list of descriptive names for other linguistic misuses. An eggcorn, you see, is defined as a personal (as opposed to culturally shared) misuse that results when the person misunderstands the term in question through similarity. “Acorn” in many dialects sounds identical to “eggcorn,” and hence the error – which usually only shows up in written form. Continue Reading

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