Meaning of eggcorn in English:


Pronunciation /ˈɛɡkɔːn/


  • A word or phrase that results from a mishearing or misinterpretation of another, an element of the original being substituted for one which sounds very similar (e.g. tow the line instead of toe the line)

    ‘a reader sent in the eggcorn ‘sir name’ for surname’
    • ‘By the way, there seems to be a little discrepancy in what an eggcorn actually is.’
    • ‘In the comments, Phil asks "Are we witnessing the birth of an eggcorn?"’
    • ‘Looks like we're way past the eggcorn stage here.’
    • ‘I really enjoy reading your ' eggcorn ' entries on the Language Log.’
    • ‘There probably are vast numbers of hidden eggcorns out there in English; we just don't detect them.’
    • ‘Most of the eggcorns we've been collecting show up in spelling.’
    • ‘The eggcorns mount up alarmingly here at Language Log Plaza.’
    • ‘Mandarin eggcorns will be even easier to detect than English ones.’
    • ‘If I'm right about this, it's only the spelling that signals the eggcorn, because lynchpin of course sounds just like linchpin.’
    • ‘Robert Coren checked out my last eggcorn posting on LL and inquired.’
    • ‘Along with this eggcorn came a classical malapropism as well.’
    • ‘Rachael Briggs sent in a lovely example of that rare subspecies the resyllabification eggcorn.’
    • ‘Finally, there are examples that appear to be in a special category of non-native-speaker eggcorns.’
    • ‘I guess I'm getting interested in eggcorns after all.’
    • ‘But to succeed as an eggcorn, a collocation has to have something going for it, a theory that licenses it and makes it seem reasonable.’
    • ‘That one seems to be a joke, though it's hard to be sure, but there are many folks out there for whom the same phrase is an eggcorn.’
    • ‘Some eggcorns are just non-standard spellings.’
    • ‘Have I found an eggcorn?’
    • ‘I've uppercased the eggcorn to emphasize it.’
    • ‘At first, I thought that this was only an urban legend eggcorn, but of the 359 examples in Google's current index, I found a few apparent keepers.’


Mid 19th century (as a misinterpretation of acorn): the modern sense is first recorded in 2003.