Set 37 – Five New Words for Dec 7

Theme: Words for linguistic errors

1. spoonerism

MEANING:

noun: The transposition of (usually) the initial sounds of words producing a humorous result. For example:
“It is now kisstomary to cuss the bride.” (Spooner while officiating at a wedding)
“Is the bean dizzy?” (Spooner questioning the secretary of his dean)

USAGE:
“As for her own red-faced moment on air, Hudson recalled how she coined a somewhat racy spoonerism in a reference to Killorglin’s Puck Fair.”

2. malapropism

MEANING:
noun: The humorous misuse of a word by confusing it with a similar-sounding word.
For example, “pineapple of perfection” for “pinnacle of perfection”.

USAGE:
“Mayor Thomas Menino is sometimes made fun of for his malapropisms; he once said the city’s parking shortage was ‘an Alcatraz* around my neck’.”
Katharine Q. Seelye; Ailing Mayor of Boston Says He’s Still Up to the Job; The New York Times; Dec 17, 2012.
*albatross

3. Freudian slip

MEANING:
noun: An error that reveals someone’s subconscious mind.
For example, “I wish you were her” instead of “I wish you were here.”

USAGE:
“The Freudian slip is invoked to explain some strange and embarrassing behavior. ‘Nice to beat you,’ smiles a woman when she meets the ex-girlfriend of her husband.”

4. eggcorn

MEANING:

noun: An erroneous alteration of a word or phrase, by replacing an original word with a similar sounding word, such that the new word or phrase also makes a kind of sense.

For example: “ex-patriot” instead of “expatriate” and “mating name” instead of “maiden name”.

USAGE:
“Will eggcorns continue to hatch? This is a moot point (or is that mute?). Yet certainly anyone waiting with ‘baited’ (bated) breath for ‘whole scale’ (wholesale) changes may need to wait a while.”

5. mondegreen (MON-di-green)

MEANING:

noun: A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase, especially in song lyrics.

For example: “The girl with colitis goes by” for “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes” in the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”.

USAGE:
“Since I live in Thailand, the most meaningful mondegreen for me was my own mishearing of a line from The Jam’s Eton Rifles. Instead of the correct ‘What chance do you have against a tie and a crest?’, for years I heard ‘What chance do you have against a Thai in a dress?'”

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