Muddled Phrases

Muddled Phrases

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all well and that you’re all excelling in whatever it is you’re working towards in life.

Today, I’m going to be talking about ‘muddled phrases’, or to give them their proper name, ‘eggcorns’. Eggcorns are common phrases that have been misinterpreted or misheard leading to their meanings being skewed. Below are a few of my favourites.

1 For All Intensive Purposes
It’s easy to see how a mishearing of ‘For all intents and purposes’ can lead to this phrase getting a little muddled. For All Intents and Purposes means ‘in every practical sense’.

2 A Doggie-dog World
This phrase is often said instead of the correct term, ‘a dog-eat-dog world’, although the former sounds like a delightful place to live in my opinion. The phrase A dog-eat-dog world is used to refer to a situation or a place that is highly competitive.

3 Another Thing Coming
The correct phrase is actually ‘another think coming’. As in, ‘if that what you think, then you have another think coming.’ It literally means ‘think again’.

4 On Tender Hooks
‘On Tenterhooks’ is the correct term but it’s easy to see how it can be muddled. A tenterhook is a hooked nail used in a tenter – a wooden frame used in the process of making woollen cloth. If one is ‘on tenterhooks’ one is said to be anxious, or tense, as in the stretching of cloth on a tenter.

5 Nip it in the Butt
The correct phrase is ‘Nip it in the Bud’ and again, it’s not hard to see how it can be misconstrued. Nip it n the butt sounds quite painful, whereas the actual phrase refers to the horticultural act of nipping off a bud from a plan before it can flower or become a fruit.

6 Damp Squid
One would hope, that if you were indeed a squid, that you would most definitely be damp – since squid live in the water! The actual term is ‘Damp Squib’ which is used to refer to something that doesn’t meet with one’s expectations. The ‘squib’ in question is actually a miniature explosive device used in a wide range of industries, from the military to movie special effects.

As always, thank you very much for spending your valuable time with my words, I really do appreciate it.

Until next time,


© 2020 GLT

Categories: English Language

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