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You are watching: Harder than a coffin nail meaning

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Paul Brians’ “Usual Errors in English Usage” webwebsite lists the error “fatality nail” rather of “death knell” (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/deathnail.html). I haven’t review all the hundreds of errors he has actually listed, but this one struck me as an eggcorn.


Hi, Literalman. Welconcerned the forum.

“Death nail” is among our earliest discoveries on the forum (still not in the database, though).


Also, Mr. Brians contributes slrfc.org here from time to time, so his entire body of work has actually efficiently been submitted… no need to mine it for others.


Literalmale wrote:

Paul Brians’ “Typical Errors in English Usage” website lists the error “fatality nail” instead of “fatality knell” (http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/deathnail.html). I haven’t review all the hundreds of errors he has actually provided, yet this one struck me as an eggcorn.

I myself hadn’t heard that one prior to, Literalman (hey, that name provides you sound choose a superhero). The interpretation link is more than likely reinforced by people having heard cigarettes dubbed “coffin nails” or, more mainly, harmful things being called “another nail in (his, your, my) coffin”.

And that simply now made me wonder if some people can be utilizing the eggcorn “coughin’ (or coughing) nail”. I discovered one mention of it on this site, here:http://slrfc.org/forum/see … hp?id=2676yet it’s among those which hasn’t made it right into the database yet. Then I did a little googlin’ and also got about 581 hits for “coughing nail”, however just probably one in ten of them are the actual eggcorn, e.g. ”...I have actually the urge to walk out puff a coughing-nail or two” and also ”...’coffin nail’ was a cigarette….or coughing nail…normally cheap none filter guideline brands…” and also “It offered an excellent worry for attacking those tabacco growing, snuff dipping, cigar chomping, coughing nail cigarette smoking Southern Baptists.”

Interestingly, my scan of the first 3 pages of google hits turned up one instance of “coughing nails” which has actually nopoint to execute with cigarettes: ”...he’s gained to be harder than a coughing nail…”. I think this is a mis-hearing of the phrase “harder than a coffin nail”, which, I believe, is of British beginning.

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Googling “coughin’ nail” produced just about 143 hits, yet almost all of these seem to be the cigarette eggcorn (or pun?), e.g. “The initial puffs begin the soon-to-be-enslaved sucker dvery own a slope that gets ever-steeper through each coughin’-nail” and also “A Rusty Nail offered without ice is sometimes dubbed a Straight Up Nail. If someone adds their cigarette butt, it is referred to as a coughin’ nail” and ”...puff on his omniexisting Camel (his ‘coffin nail’/ ‘coughin’ nail’)...” That last one is specifically amazing bereason the writer provides both spellings, indicating either that he is unsure of which is ideal or is making a pun.