Sunday schooling

My thanks go to Merl Reagle, editor of the crossword puzzle in The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine, who practically wrote this blog post for me.

I had intended to write a follow-up to pieces I posted earlier on mispronunciations, misspellings and malapropisms. Then Sunday’s puzzle beat me to it, using something Reagle called “eggcorns.” 

Spoiler alert:  If you haven’t done the Sunday puzzle and intend to, you will want to skip over this for now.

Eggcorns, Reagle explains, are things people say and write that are technically incorrect but have a logic of their own.  For example, the business located to the right of yours is “next store.”  Get it? 

In the puzzle, the clues are what make the incorrect phrases or spellings correct.  I will leave it to you to read those in the crossword itself.  Here I will list a few of the answers as examples of commonly misspelled or mis-uttered phrases.  We should take note, as I suspect we’ve all made at least one of these errors in our lifetimes.  Recognize any?

  1. wet one’s appetite
  2. butt naked
  3. hone in on
  4. sacreligious
  5. bellweather
  6. laxadaisical
  7. expatriot
  8. Here, here
  9. unchartered waters
  10. a tough road to hoe

If any of these looks correct to you, see me after class and I will tell you what it is supposed to be.

11 Comments

Filed under All Things Wordish, Reading

11 responses to “Sunday schooling

  1. Mom

    Ooh. Those were goodies!

  2. Paul Pinkston

    Why don’t we try-and-do [sic] something about these eggcorns before they become too prolific [sic]?

  3. Katherine

    Forgive my ignorance, but I have never heard bellweather. Please explain…

    • The dictionary defines bellwether (no a) as a leader of a movement or activity; also, a leading indicator of future trends. You hear it a lot in political discussions, especially around elections. Florida was a “belwether state” in 2000, as was Ohio in 2004 (if I have my years correct).

      The crossword puzzle clue on that one was “indicator of the winds of change.”

  4. Maresee dotes and doesy dotes and little ams zeedivey! or not?

  5. not exactly I see. I should not type before I think and I should read the directions thoroughly 🙂

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