Say What? Commonly Misheard Phrases

In a doggy dog world, it’s time to nip something in the butt. There’s a linguistic phenomenon that’s spreading like wildflowers. Let’s investigate eggcorns: the misheard versions of terms that ride roughshot over the originals. Some may pass you by without you battering an eyelid — you take them completely for granite. Others will make you want to curl up in the feeble position and cry “seize and desist!” So let’s see which ones pass mustard, and which are just damp squids. It’s likely you’re chomping at the bit, so we won’t leave you on tenderhooks any longer. Let’s get down to brass tacts: What exactly is an eggcorn? You might have noticed by now that the first part of this article is simply filled with wrong phrases. The phrase isn’t “doggy dog world,” it’s “dog eat dog world.” You don’t nip something in the butt — not if you want to avoid a lawsuit — you nip it in the “bud.” Moving on, it’s the “fetal” position, not the feeble position. Nevertheless, these are all things that people actually say. They’re close to the original sayings — in fact, they make their own sort of sense — but they’re not quite right. They are eggcorns. The word "eggcorn" is itself an eggcorn, derived from acorn. Eggcorns often arise as people attempt to make sense of a stock phrase that uses a term unfamiliar to them, as for example replacing "Alzheimer's disease" with "old-timers’ disease.” When all is said and done, eggcorns are simply proof of how nimble and sly English is. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that there’s actually an Eggcorn Database……and it’s just might “peak your interest.”