Eggcorn: Wait... what?

Eggcorn: Wait... what?

(WAFF) - This can't be right, can it?

You must be joking.


Yes, "eggcorn" is a word, and one of the new batch of words and terms added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary recently.

What's it mean? Webster's defines eggcorn as "a word or phrase that sounds like, and is mistakenly used, in a seemingly logical or plauisble way for another word or phrase."

Alright then: let's discuss the logic in the word "eggcorn," which is, by definition, its own eggcorn.

According to this article from NPR, linguist Geoffrey Pullum, credited with the word's discovery, says it is the way some people say "acorn."

We can also deconstruct the word to give it some more context:

When something is considered plausible, the saying is that it has "a kernel of truth about it." Pieces of corn are called kernels. That's one half of the word explained.

What about egg? We may have to stretch a bit, but sometimes a person who behaves badly is called a "rotten apple" or... "a bad egg."

A badly-chosen word (egg) + a kernel of plausibility (corn) = Eggcorn, instead of "acorn."

Other eggcorns described in the NPR article include "self phone" (cell phone) and "coldslaw" (coleslaw).

An eggcorn is not to be confused with a malapropism, which is a glaring misuse of words.

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