School of Thumb

One of the entertaining features that editor Tom Sumner created for my Common Errors in English Usage book is the list of ”mangled expressions“ beginning on p. 276. It contains a few instances where two common sayings have been cross-pollinated, creating odd hybrids.

Examples include “cast in stone,” “face the piper,” and “mumble jumbo.”

More are listed on my “More Errors” page, including “by the same hand,” “pick fun,” “pin a finger,” “tooth and tong,” and “worth its weight in salt.”

I just heard another example on the radio when a journalist covering sports spoke of a “school of thumb” which sounds like a hybrid of “school of thought” and “rule of thumb.”

An electronica band in Minneapolis named itself “School of Thumb.”

The band seems to have had a short and rather obscure existence, so it hasn’t spread the mangled expression much; but it’s probably a natural mutant which pops up from time to time.

1 comment:

asrael said...

A colleague of mine used to mention things that burned her goat.