Summer Semantics: Pedal, Peddle, Petal

This summer, there’s one homophonous mix-up I’m really enjoying for the images it inspires: pedal boat, peddle boat, and petal boat.

Below I share my definition of each variation for your pleasure (and perhaps to help clear up some confusion):

1) Pedal Boat (also called a pedalo or a paddle boat): A boat one moves—mostly through a scum of the excrement of waterfowl—by powering a paddle wheel through of the pedaling action of one’s feet.

2) Peddle Boat: A boat from which one sells one’s wares, perhaps crustless sandwiches, fizzy drinks, or other refreshments to those who’ve overexerted themselves in their pedal/paddle boats.

3) Petal Boat: A boat made of water flowers and used only by ants or small mice to traverse the scummy pond and recover the remains of the peddle boat refreshments dropped by the pedal boat travelers.

Pedal boats are on the other side of the dock. It was a slow day, so neither peddle boats nor petal boats are visible here.

Pedal boats are on the other side of the dock. It was a slow day, so neither peddle boats nor petal boats are visible here.

What language mix-ups do you find delightful in spite of yourself? Do you, too, enjoy making up definitions? List them or link them in the comments.

One comment

  1. fungibleellery · August 2, 2013

    Bil Keane, the creator of Family Circus in the Sundayt comics presents these sentence puns 2 or 3 times each year (when the character, Billy, takes over for his father). They make for a great Sunday comic strip.

    I prefer a linguistic mix up that reverses certain words or phonemes with a phrase to yield unexpected results with a completely different meaning.

    Example:

    o Here’s Champaign for my real friends and real pain for my sham friends
    o I prefer a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy
    o I crossed the sea to see the cross

    I forget the name of this this semantic trickery (like “palindrome”, which it is not). In fact, I accidentally came up with a great example. But, alas, it is not suited to a family Blog!

    Like

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