November 04, 2007

Sliver me timbers!

Yes, sliver.  Alison Purnell found this eggcorn in an episode of the television show Due South.  Not just the eggcorn, but a discussion about it, complete with a rationale for it.

From the episode "Mountie on the Bounty Pt.1", originally aired 3/15/98 (transcription by Purnell):

Ray: Frannie! Can you run some prints for me, check 'em against any known pirates?

Francesca: Pirates?!  What do you mean, like "pieces of eight" and "sliver me timbers"?

Ray: It's "shiver me timbers."

Francesca: It's "sliver."

Ray: Frannie!

Francesca: Ray! What can that mean, "shiver me timbers"? That doesn't mean anything.

Ray: Sure it does, like, "shake your booty," something like that.

Francesca: Ray.  Pirates.  They slide down masts.  Wooden masts.  "Sliver," y'get it?  Sliver in their timbers?  [in disgust as she walks away] "Shiver."

Ray: [to himself] I never got that.

There are a few dozen webhits for "sliver me timbers", but they all look like plays on words.  This one seems to have been invented just for the show.  And with a rationale that's like the ones we get for eggcorns in the wild.

Posted by Arnold Zwicky at November 4, 2007 02:02 PM