Word count: 234 words
Reading time: Less than 1 minute
This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help writers. Today I introduce you to eggcorns….
My friend Rochelle Triester introduced me to the charming site Eggcorns. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look now. “What’s an eggcorn?” It occurs when a speaker or writer substitutes a word or phrase for something that sounds similar but is incorrect. For example, (and you can see this one on the Eggcorn site), “a new leash on life,” instead of “a new lease on life.” An eggcorn introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible. And it’s often funny.
The term eggcorn was created by professor of linguistics Geoffrey Pullum in 2003. This was in response to an article on a website discussing a woman who substituted the term egg corn for the word acorn. When the author of the article, Mark Liberman, revealed that this kind of mistake lacked a name, Pullum suggested using “eggcorn” itself.
Here are three of my favourites from the eggcorn site:
- Holland day sauce, for hollandaise
- Elk for ilk
- Youthamism for euphemism.