'Twist in the tail' and 'Twist in the tale'.

  • GOAT117

    Senior Member
    Spanish / English
    I'm not sure what "eggcorn" means..
    But based on the two examples in your title, the one that makes the most sense would be "Twist in the tale." which would mean a story had an unexpected turn of events.
    UNLESS of course you're speaking of an animal who happens to have a tail that is not straight, in which case the animal could be described to have a "twist in the tail" although it would sound more natural to me to say "crooked tail"

    Cheers!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    That does not answer my question. I know what eggcorn means. My question was 'which one of the two is original?'
    It wasn't intended to answer your question. I was giving an explanation for anyone who might find it helpful, for instance to understand your question.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The answer to your question is "neither". How can one be "the original" when both phrases have clear and distinct meanings? Where is your complete sentence to show one or both phrases in context?
     

    Charwalk

    Senior Member
    The answer to your question is "neither". How can one be "the original" when both phrases have clear and distinct meanings? Where is your complete sentence to show one or both phrases in context?
    The answer to your question is "neither". How can one be "the original" when both phrases have clear and distinct meanings? Where is your complete sentence to show one or both phrases in context?
    Please refer to discussion on:
    Twist in the Tale, or Twist in the Tail?.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Why? I have no interest in that pointless discussion. If you want a question answered here, it is up to you to provide the context for your question. You are asking which is the original version of two phrases. You have provided no context or background, nor have you provided a sentence to illustrate what your question is about. I have already linked you to the earliest occurrence of these phrases in the Google Books ngram database, and you can click on the links there to see that the first occurrence is a comment in 1859 on the shape of a young pig's tail. You could also undertake your own search in Google Books to discover that there are many examples of "twist in the tail" in books published in the 19th century - all referring to animals' tails - but "twist in the tale" does not appear until the latter half of the 20th century - possibly as late as the 1980s.
     
    Why? I have no interest in that pointless discussion. If you want a question answered here, it is up to you to provide the context for your question. You are asking which is the original version of two phrases. You have provided no context or background, nor have you provided a sentence to illustrate what your question is about. I have already linked you to the earliest occurrence of these phrases in the Google Books ngram database, and you can click on the links there to see that the first occurrence is a comment in 1859 on the shape of a young pig's tail. You could also undertake your own search in Google Books to discover that there are many examples of "twist in the tail" in books published in the 19th century - all referring to animals' tails - but "twist in the tale" does not appear until the latter half of the 20th century - possibly as late as the 1980s.

    Thanks Andy. This is good evidence; esp. regarding the NON-occurrence of 'twist in the tale' for many years in the period.

    I also agree, upon reflection, that the 'which is an eggcorn', here, cannot be answered. This is NOT obvious as in Lady Mondegreen.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    The website "etymonline.com" is about etymology (history or origins of words). Their article on the noun "twist" says the meaning "unexpected plot development" was first used in 1941.

    But that "twist" can be used with "story, plot, novel, tale" or any other words meaning a story.

    It is not clear who first noticed that "tale" and "tail" sound the same, and are both things that may have a "twist" in them.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Here's some context.
    The pig has a twist in the tail - literal.
    There is a twist in the tale - a sudden and unexpected change in the story or plot - literal.
    The story has a twist in the tail - figurative/pun - the twist in the tale comes right at the end of the story (typical of Agatha Christie's books).
    :)
     
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