Let 1000 crash blossoms bloom

So we’ve come to enjoy Cupertinos, eggcorns and snowclones, and now the Society for Found-Object Internet Sociolinguistics (SFOIS) has acquired a new member. What is this all about? Well, there was no word for it! What, you’re asking? Those train wrecks of newspaper headlines that lead us down the garden path to end up against a wall, scratching our head and wondering what on earth the subeditor might possibly have been thinking.

A particularly eyebrow-raising specimen was posted by Bessie3 on the Testy Copy Editors forum:

Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms

Confused? It may help to know that JAL means Japan Airlines, that there was a crash in 1985, that “blossoms” is the verb of the sentence, and that “linked to” means the violinist in question is a child of one of the crash’s casulties. Be that as it may — the testy copy editors had no problem decoding the mess — the discussion spawned by the oringinal post turned to the “we have no word for this” problem, which was resolved by the excellent suggestion that crash blossom would make an excellent term for referring to this kind of infelicitous headline.

A site was put up on Blogger, and the staff of the Eggcorn Database extends our most heartfelt welcome and wishes a long life to the new endeavour.

Here come the crash blossoms: welcome to the party!

Hat tip: John McIntyre and Elizabeth Herrington, first seen on Facebook.

P.S.: The same thread notes the mindboggling Man held for attempted murder of policeman after detention for confining girl expires, which while not containing a snappy term, is an even more egregious example.

Eggcorn sightings!

  1. Only one more day available on BBC iPlayer, and unfortunately not available as a podcast, Stephen Fry’s wonderful August 11 episode of his BBC4 radio program(me) Fry’s English Delight mentions eggcorns appoximately 11 min into the show. It’s altogether excellent – including the notes on French, language change, the status of error etc.

  2. Eggcorns as a topic of academic inquiry! By pure chance I came across a page on the Workshop on Computational Approaches to Linguistic Creativity CALC-09, which took place in June of this year in Boulder, Colorado in the US, which had an entire session on eggcorns. Wow.