Eggcorn is Geoff Pullum's recently suggested term for sporadic or idiosyncratic lexical re-analysis, like "egg corn" for acorn, "wedding vowels" for wedding vows, "reigns of power" for reins of power, and so on.
Igry was recently coined by Francis Heaney and others with the meaning "painfully embarrassed for or uncomfortable about someone else's incredibly poor social behavior, or descriptive of such poor social behavior."
The core example of igriness is not quite right in this connection, because it suggests a moral failing rather than a misunderstanding: "Like, say you're at a restaurant, and one of the people at your table summons the waiter by snapping their fingers." However, it's a small extension of the meaning of igry to cover the embarrassed sympathy we feel for the linguistic cluelessness behind a malapropism or an eggcorn. And Doug deserves points for using two words coined by others on known occasions within the past four months within the same (contextually apt) four-word sentence.
Speaking for myself, I do try to transcend my natural feelings of igriness in the face of eggcorns, by admiring the boundless creativity with which people constantly reinvent our common language. But it's hard.
[Update: Francis Heaney writes:
Igry was actually coined quite a few years ago (I see now that I neglected to mention that detail in the blog). I've just been keeping the fire alive.
The "eggcorns make me igry" usage doesn't seem wrong to me. I mean, when I see someone I respect writing about "reigning in one's impulses" or something, it does make me feel embarrassed for them, and it definitely generates a little of that dying-inside feeling that is the core of igriness. Limiting my definition to merely reactions to poor behavior might be too narrow. Like, here's another f'rinstance: watching the trailer to the new Ben Stiller movie makes me igry, not because the subject matter of the movie seems offensive, but because it just pains me so much that Ben Stiller keeps taking such embarrassing roles in crappy movies. So that doesn't really fall under the "bad behavior" umbrella either. I welcome further refinements to the definition.
OK, we're on the same lexicographic page here: what I saw as an extended sense, bleached of the connection to an associate's bad behavior, is revealed as part of the core constellation of senses, linked phenomenologically by the common emotion that is experienced. It's notoriously hard to get people to agree about the ontology of feelings, but igriness (igritude?) should be a welcome addition to anyone's set of basic emotional categories, in my opinion.]
[Update: more on igry and its translations in Spanish and Dutch here.]Posted by Mark Liberman at January 27, 2004 06:29 AM