According to Merriam-Webster, eggcorns are “words or phrases mistakenly used for another word or phrase because it sounds similar and seems logical or plausible”.
The word “eggcorn” is actually an eggcorn; acorns sound like the word eggcorn and are oval-shaped.
These grammatical mistakes have sometimes become part of spoken language, and it’s not always easy to tell which is form is correct.
Below are a few examples of famous eggcorns.
- Eggcorn: for all intensive purposes. Correct: for all intents and purposes.
- Eggcorn: it’s a doggy-dog world. Correct: it’s a dog-eat-dog world.
- Eggcorn: the point is mute. Correct: the point is moot.
- Eggcorn: she is a social leopard. Correct: she is a social leper.
- Eggcorn: pass me the cold slaw, please. Correct: pass me the cole slaw, please.
- Eggcorn: this peaked my interest. Correct: this piqued my interest.
If you want to see more common eggcorns, visit https://eggcorns.lascribe.net/.
So, the next time you want to use an English expression, have a think and double-check – it could be an eggcorn!
Published December 2019.