List Rules Upvote the most confusing mispronounced and misspelled words and phrases in the English language.
What's an eggcorn and why would an eggcorn database or eggcorn list exist at all? Well, the English language is tricky and full of words and phrases that are easily mispronounced or misspelled. Heck, just about any language is tricky and full of nuance. There's a great video of Stephen Fry talking about language being an evolving thing, and that more pedantic folks shouldn't be so hard up to correct people. Many agree, but this list of eggcorns is something fun to think about!
Okay, so what is an eggcorn? I's a phrase or a word that, through misspelling, mispronunciation, or a simple misunderstanding of its meaning, has been changed to an incorrect phrase. In fact, the word eggcorn is itself an eggcorn: the linguist who coined the term chose that word after speaking with someone who said "eggcorn" instead of "acorn."
So, we thought it'd be fun for linguaphiles to look at and rank the trickiest and most confusing eggcorns that sometimes trip up even the most avid grammar and language lovers. Some of these mistakes are just straight up wrong and get the meaning mixed up. Some are honest mistakes that most people rarely challenge. Some, interestingly, are phrases that, when you really think about it, still hold the spirit of the original meaning. '
The point is, this is all in good fun. Haters to the left! Let's enjoy the linguistic mistakes, poetry, and nightmares of eggcorns together.
list ordered by
Chomp at the Bit Correct term: "champ at the bit." This is what a horse does when they have a bit in their mouth.
Bold-Faced Lie Correct term: "bald-faced lie." People argue about this, as either way is metaphorical.
Towing the Line Correct term: "toeing the line," meaning you're stepping in line to conform to whatever outside influence you're dealing with.
All Intensive Purposes Correct term: "all intents and purposes," meaning "encompassing all desires and objectives."
Expresso Correct term: "espresso." This is just a simple pronunciation and spelling error.
Baited Breath Correct term: "bated breath," meaning breath that is bated "in great suspense."
Flush Out Correct term: "flesh out," in the context of "building out from a small idea." (Some people use "flush out," but that should be in the context of "getting something out of a place.") ...
Rebel Rouser Correct term: "rabble rouser," someone who, y'know, rouses a rabble. (Just remember: every time there's a mob in South Park, they always yell "rabble rabble rabble!")
On the Lamb Correct term: "on the lam." When you're going off the grid and escaping the Man.
Chock It Up Correct term: "chalk it up," from old-timey England, where chalk was used to record debts on a board. (The meaning, obviously, has changed immensely.)
chantellebelle added Wet Your Appetite Correct term: "whet your appetite," meaning to stimulate your appetite
Duck Tape Correct term: "duct tape." Duck Tape is a brand of this type of tape.
Give Free Range Correct term: "give free rein," allowing someone to do what they want. "Range" still implies boundaries.
Ex-Patriot Correct term: "expatriate," meaning someone who is living outside of their home country. (They could be an ex-patriot, but that's rarely (if ever) what we mean.)
Escape Goat Correct term: "scapegoat," meaning a person who's been intentionally blamed for misdeeds they did not commit. (Comes from the Bible, wherein a Jewish priest had absolved his people of their sins by placing them ...