• joshme17/Flickr
  • Flickr? I hardly know ‘er!

Like most things, the eggcorn is neither an Easter morning side dish nor an unusually large growth on the bottom of the foot. It is a seed, encased in a shell, that falls off trees and provides snacks for passing wildlife. Bear with me, though the eggcorn might seem like a lark—I’m nut oaking.

“Eggcorn,” of course, sounds roughly the same as “acorn,” but it’s also a term that linguists coined to describe an apt, if erroneous, linguistic substitution—a malapropism that actually sort of works. For instance, “financial heartship,” or “on the spurt of the moment.” I learned about eggcorns when I was shocked to discover that the phrase “You’ve got another thing coming” is incorrect. Because the clause that traditionally precedes it is “If you think that,” the other thing you have coming is actually another think—an eggcorn because the substitution of thing doesn’t much alter the meaning of the phrase.