Issue 202, page 3

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Guestmudgeon Lynn Nordhagen hates it when people pour...

"Scholars pour over their manuscripts looking for errors before publication."

Yes, of course, it should be pore*.  This is a good time to tell you about The Eggcorn Database.  What? An eggcorn is the result of a word or part of a word being "reanalyzed" and the spelling being altered to reflect the new meaning.  A good example is the pour/pore homophone pair.  Many people are not familiar with the verb pore, so they assume the word should be pourPour used in the example our Guestmudgeon gives above doesn't really make sense, but the human brain is an amazing thing and people can rationalize just about anything.  Perhaps in the above example, they liken "looking intently" (the meaning of pore) to the figurative "pouring one's eyes" over the material.  Whatever the logic (or lack thereof), there are plenty more examples of eggcorns in The Eggcorn Database.

Eggcorn, by the way, is an eggcorn (!) of the word acorn.  Yes, apparently there are numerous instances of folks thinking that an acorn was really an eggcorn!  Check out The Eggcorn Database for more information on the development of the term eggcorn.

*The etymology of pore is obscure, but there is a possibility that it is cognate with peer (v.).

Have you heard or read similar or equally distressing usages?

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Last Updated 02/14/06 10:45 PM