However, I have noticed that a large portion (ok, all) of my American college students of the critical 5 years erroneously think that this expression is instead "dead as a doorknob."

I i think this can be because of the fairly infrequent usage of the word/phrase door-nail in typical speech, especially when contrasted to "doorknob" (e.g., view here, here, or here).

You are watching: Dead as a doornail or doorknob

In fact, most of my students room unsure what a door-nail is (though countless can guess).

I assume that if mine students stand for a more comprehensive trend, there is a possibility that the idiom could actually permanently "change" from making use of doornail come doorknob in the not so remote future.

My question: Is over there a word or expression to define an circumstances in which an idiom actually changes due come a readjust in usual (mis)usage?


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A malapropism is

the commonly unintentionally feeling misuse or distortion the a indigenous or phrase; especially : the usage of a word sounding somewhat favor the one intended yet ludicrously not correct in the context. “Jesus healing those leopards” is an example of malapropism.

Perhaps the OP is trying to find the malapropism that a word in ~ an idiom, such as "for all extensive purposes" or "it"s a mute point." (Should it is in "for all intents and also purposes" and "it"s a moot point.")


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