<em>Biting My Time</em> or <em>Biding My Time</em>? 7 Commonly Misheard Phrases
  • 3-minute read
  • 29th July 2022

Biting My Time or Biding My Time? 7 Commonly Misheard Phrases

If you’ve ever mistaken youthanism for euphemism, old-timer’s disease for Alheimer’s disease, or duck tape for duct tape, you’re not alone. This common mistake is called an eggcorn, which refers to a word or phrase that’s misheard and used in a seemingly plausible way in place of another set expression. Eggcorns are part of modern language, which is constantly evolving. However, for all intents and purposes, you should avoid them in your writing. Read on to learn some eggcorns that are frequently used today.

Biting My Time or Biding My Time?

Biding my time means to wait patiently before acting, as in a lion waiting for the right moment to pounce on its prey. Some people who substitute bide for bite might imagine they’re chomping off a chunk of their time as they wait, but this doesn’t convey the meaning of this expression correctly, as it leaves out the aspect of waiting patiently.

Cold Slaw or Cole Slaw?

The correct spelling of this side dish is cole slaw, derived from the Dutch word koolsla, meaning “cabbage salad.” The eggcorn cold slaw is tricky because the mistaken phrase actually makes a lot of sense – cole slaw is actually served cold (and often next to a heaping pile of barbecue).

Expresso or Espresso?

The word espresso comes from the Italian word for pressed, referring to the method of preparing this highly concentrated coffee served as a shot. The mispronunciation may indicate the “express” aspect of how the caffeine is delivered, or it could be because words that start with ex- in English are more common than words with an es- prefix. This eggcorn is so common that it’s even included in some dictionaries.

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Blessing in the Skies or Blessing in Disguise?

A blessing in disguise is the correct form of this expression, referring to an apparent misfortune that has an unexpectedly positive outcome. Blessings are often thought to come from spiritual or religious figures, which may come from above, so it’s understandable how the eggcorn blessing in the skies came to be.

Sick Sense or Sixth Sense?

Although it’s the title of a well-known psychological thriller, many people are still confused about the correct spelling of this phrase. A sixth sense is a strong feeling of intuition or the ability to perceive things before others. The eggcorn sick sense may come from the difficulty in pronouncing the th in a phrase with so many Ss, but as sick can mean “morally unsound or corrupt,” or, in slang, “outstandingly good or impressive,” this eggcorn would take on a totally different meaning than the original expression.

Want to Avoid Eggcorns in Your Writing?

Our team of expert editors will catch them. Whether you’re an author or poet, we’ll make sure your work is error-free. Go sip on some espresso while you send us a free trial document today!

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