The 30 most misused phrases - including 'to be pacific'

'To be pacific, 'an escape goat' and 'damp squid' are the most misused phrases or sayings, according to research.

Saturday, 9th December 2017, 3:44 pm
Updated Saturday, 9th December 2017, 3:50 pm

The phrases - commonly known as 'eggcorns' - often mean something different to the original yet make some kind of sense.

The research of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care, found 35 per cent admit to saying an 'eggcorn'.

Adrian Ellis, from Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care, said: "The 'eggcorns' survey is a fun way to highlight the need to look after our hearing as many phrases are down to people mishearing them in the first place.

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"With a record 11 million people in the UK now suffering from some degree of hearing loss, if ignored it can not only lead to potentially embarrassing situations socially but also be incredibly isolating."

The top 30 'eggcorns', according to Scrivens Opticians and Hearing Care...

1. To be pacific (instead of to be specific)

2. An escape goat (instead of a scapegoat)

3. Damp squid (instead of damp squib)

4. Nipped it in the butt (instead of nipped in the bud)

5. On tender hooks (instead of on tenterhooks)

6. Cold slaw (instead of coleslaw)

7. A doggie-dog world (instead of dog-eat-dog world)

8. Circus-sized (instead of circumcised)

9. Lack toast and tolerant (instead of lactose intolerant)

10. Got off scotch free (instead of got off scot-free)

11. To all intensive purposes (instead of to all intents and purposes)

12. Boo to a ghost (instead of boo to a goose)

13. Card shark (instead of card sharp)

14. Butt naked (instead of buck naked)

15. Hunger pains (instead of hunger pangs)

16. Tongue and cheek (instead of tongue-in-cheek)

17. It's a mute point (instead of moot point)

18. Pass mustard (instead of pass muster)

19. Just deserves (instead of just deserts)

20. Foe par (instead of faux pas)

21. Social leopard (instead of social leper)

22. Biting my time (instead of biding my time)

23. Curled up in the feeble position (instead of curled up in the foetal position)

24. Curve your enthusiasm (instead of curb your enthusiasm)

25. Heimlich remover (instead of Heimlich manoeuvre)

26. Ex-patriot (instead of expatriate)

27. Extract revenge (instead of exact revenge)

28. Self-depreciating (instead of self-deprecating)

29. As dust fell (instead of as dusk fell)

30. Last stitch effort (instead of last ditch effort)

31. Real goal-getter (instead of real go-getter)

32. Case and point (instead of case in point)