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We've all taken a common phrase or word and mutilated it at some point. You know, the simple things that we process strangely and come up with our own meaning. Here are some I've come across. A few include my theories of why people said them that way.

The error is first, and the correct version follows, underlined.

It donged on me.
It dawned on me.

The funny thing about this was that it was a former neighbor of mine whose name was Dawn. Putting aside the fact that she wasn't the brightest beam shining through the window, I think she hit on something here. I mean, when something dawns on us, isn't it often like a "DONG!" on the head?!?

Soak and wet
soaking wet

Someone on one of my email lists. I think (s)he hears people say, "Soakin' wet", and (s)he doesn't catch that it's simply typical, jumbled English.

doggity dog world
doggy dog world
dog eat dog world

Each one from a different friend. Two smart women who, I think, realized that, no matter how you cut it, this is a silly phrase.

pillars, as in the columns or pillars on a building

I'm sorry to say that every person I've heard use this term is somewhat intellectually challenged. I'm sure there is a perfectly brilliant person out there SOMEWHERE who uses this term, but I haven't found him. THEORY: You're familiar with people saying something like, "Boy, if I had me a piller fer my head now, I'd take me a nap." Our feather pillows are reduced to "pillers" when someone has a thick country accent. The people I've heard use this term are very conscious about how they present themselves, and they think everyone saying "pillar" is really saying "pillow" with a hick accent. I've tested this theory, and it seems quite accurate. The funniest part of this is that everyone I've heard use "pillow" instead of "pillar" has a deep Southern drawl!!

splitting image
spitting image

My husband came up with this one. He still maintains that it makes more sense than spitting image. My stepfather joked, "Yeah, and what about spitting hairs?" Well, my cat does.

in portant

No theory here beyond "DUH."


So common in the South, especially in the New Orleans area. Laziness, plain and simple.


Well, I think any of us can see the goofers' logic in this one. But, tell me, do these people never read?


Again, you can see the logic. When we're suffocating, we're also smothering. But, oh, what a butchering of the language! Perfectly nice person but not the next Whitman.


Poor education and lack of reading!!

trip the life fantastic
trip the light fantastic

Sorry, Charlie! But, boy, oh, boy, did you make us laugh! We still love you. (By the way, he's a very smart guy and well-educated. Come to think of it, though, he doesn't read much...)

mince words

Obviously someone who doesn't spend much time cooking! If you cook, mincing words makes a lot of sense! But a very smart man nonetheless.