Tuesday, April 17, 2012

baldfaced, boldfaced/barefaced: Common Errors in English Usage Entry for Tuesday, April 17, 2012

baldfaced, boldfaced/barefaced
The only one of these spellings recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary as meaning “shameless” is “barefaced.” Etymologies often refer to the prevalence of beards among Renaissance Englishmen, but beards were probably too common to be considered deceptively concealing. It seems more likely that the term derived from the widespread custom at that time among the upper classes of wearing masks to social occasions where one would rather not be recognized.

Today's entry is an example of an eggcorn, which Paul Brians writes about in his latest blog entry.
You can read an interesting history of the term here.

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