It seems eggcorns are having their day. The word has just been added to the Oxford English Online Dictionary, according to the Boston Globe.

If you’re not sure what an eggcorn is, here’s the official definition: “an alteration of a word or phrase through the mishearing or reinterpretation of one or more of its elements as a similar-sounding word.” So if you, like Joey from Friends, say “it’s a moo point” rather than “moot point”, you’re using an eggcorn.

Eggcorn seems like an odd word though – what’s its origin?

The term derives from “egg corn” as a substitution for “acorn,” whose earliest appearance comes in an 1844 letter from an American frontiersman: “I hope you are as harty as you ust to be and that you have plenty of egg corn bread which I can not get her and I hop to help you eat some of it soon.”

Why would eggcorn (as we now spell it) replace acorn in the writer’s lexicon? As the OED editors comment, “acorns are, after all, seeds which are somewhat egg-shaped, and in many dialects the formations acorn and eggcorn sound very similar.” (And, like corn kernels, acorns can be ground into meal or flour.) This coinage came to the attention of the linguists blogging at Language Log in 2003, and at the suggestion of Geoffrey Pullum, one of the site’s founders, it was adopted as the term for all such expressions.

Eggcorns needed their own label, the Language Loggers decided, because they were mistakes of a distinct sort — variants on the traditional phrasing, but ones that still made at least a bit of sense. “Nip it in the bud,” for instance, is a horticultural metaphor, perhaps not so widely understood as it once was; the newer “nip it in the butt” describes a different strategy for getting rid of some unwelcome visitation, but it’s not illogical. Hamlet said he was “to the manner born,” but the modern alteration, “to the manor born,” is also a useful formula. (Source:

Does anyone have any interesting eggcorns to share? If not, take a look at the Eggcorn Database.