Monday 11 December 2017

a real trooper

Our thanks to Things Magazine for introducing us to the concept of an eggcorn, similar to an oronym—that is a word or phrase that can be substituted for another, as in “We all scream for ice-cream!” or a mondegreen, a misheard lyric (the ballad goes “They have slain the Earl O’Moray, and laid him on the green”) which was coined in 2003 to describe the idiosyncratic substitution of one word for another plausible, possibly more sensical one.
Linguists were discussing the case of an individual convinced that the nut of oak tree was called an eggcorn and it was difficult to persuade her otherwise. Alzheimer’s disease might be fairly logically characterised as old-timers’, especially when the term was new or having another think (as in the need to re-think one’s stance) coming makes less sense than having another thing coming, bolstered by song, or chomping versus champing at the bit. What other folk etymologies can you think of? Photochop?  Are you the veteran member of your troupe, reliable and uncomplaining?  I wonder what other convoluted constructions might be attributed to a similar transformation and drive to re-couch a phrase in terms that come across as more logical to contemporaries.