Was that a worldwind or a whirlwind?
Writing for Business
Which is correct?
Novell went on a three-week _______ tour promoting SUSE Linux Enterprise.
This one’s for my husband, Douglas Malcolm, who reaped the worldwind in his time as an English prof (along with other gems like “bethatasitmay” and an essay on the myth of Icarus and Dicarus*).
Worldwind (sometimes spelled world wind) is an eggcorn. (According to Nancy Friedman (@fritinancy), an eggcorn is “a mis-heard term that’s assigned a creative spelling (and definition too, usually). The Eggcorn Database lists six citations of world wind for whirlwind, and they’re probably just the tip of the cyclone.”
Friedman reaped her worldwind and reported on it in a 2009 post, Eggcorns Caught in Love Nest. She was shocked by a deeply purple email from disgraced NC governor Mark Sanford to his Argentinian mistress. Well, it was not the deep purple prose that shocked Friedman (Sample: “the erotic beauty of you holding yourself (or two magnificent parts of yourself) in the faded glow of night’s light”), but a totally G-rated phrase: “taking the family to China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Thailand and then back through Hong Kong on world wind tour.”
World wind. I’m a little iffy on public disclosure of private matters, like affairs. But I do feel that an error like world wind tells us something about the writer — and it may be something that means they shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office.
Husband: I think you did some creative remembering about Icarus and Dicarus.
Me: It was something along those lines. Diddleous?
Husband: Maybe Diddleous. The one I remember the most was the character Fortunato in Poe’s Cask of Amontillado which spell check converted to Fourteenth and was referred to with great confidence throughout the essay as Fourteenth, as in “Fourteenth said …”
Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar