May 31, 2004

Feint of heart

Nicole at A Capital Idea links to my post on participial relative clauses with whom, calling it "interesting". She adds a cautionary coda:

Warning: not for the feint of heart.

Since Nicole indentifies herself as "A newspaper copy editor [who] talks shop and invites you to do the same", I'm going with the hypothesis that the eggcorn was ironic.

Google reports 3,910 hits for "feint of heart", so it's a 3,910 whG pattern, weighing in at 912 whG/gp. By comparison, "faint of heart" comes in at 151,000 whG, or 35,238 whG/gp.

Score: correct spelling 39, wrong spelling (or irony) 1.

Proportionally speaking, that is.

Posted by Mark Liberman at May 31, 2004 02:10 PM