Are You Making Up Funny New Words by Mistake?

You mishear a word or a phrase and make up a new one. 

That’s what we call an eggcorn. 

The new word or phrase might even sound better than the original.

Let’s take “for all intents and purposes” (im Grunde), for example.

You might hear people say, “for all intensive purposes”.

Both phrases can be understood. But it’s the first one that is correct.

Here are some other funny eggcorns you might hear:

  • old wise tale instead of old wives’ tale (das Ammenmärchen)
  • escape goat instead of scapegoat (der Sündenbock)
  • nip it in the butt instead of nip it in the bud (im Keim ersticken)
  • mute point instead of moot point (ein strittiger Punkt)
  • eardrop instead of eavesdrop (jmdm belauschen)
  • wet your appetite instead of whet your appetite (deinen Appetit anregen)

So, next time you catch yourself using a funny new word or phrase, remember, you might just be creating an eggcorn!

Have you ever created one without even realising it at first?  

Language is always changing. New words and phrases appear all the time. 

Keep learning and having fun with English!


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Foto Christine Sparks

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