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I think this is probably just one of those phrases people get wrong, such as "for all extensive purposes" - but I just found this on a cafe web page:

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This question asks the meaning of "in store" but I don't see any reference to stall. Is this a reasonable alternate usage or just another "foul swoop"/"baited breath" situation? (and by the way is there a word dedicated to describing that kind of mistake...)

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Some might use the term "eggcorn": itre.cis.upenn.edu/%7emyl/languagelog/archives/000734.html –  F.E. Apr 7 at 4:03
    
It makes perfect sense, just that there's no idiom, the word stall being used in its literal sense of "a stand, booth, or compartment for the sale of goods in a market or large covered area," common in an R&B. google.com/… –  Kris Apr 7 at 6:24
    
I could see that if it was a market stall but restaurant and bar? –  Adam Eberbach Apr 7 at 6:49

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is no usage of in stall for you and it is not likely to be a common error for English speakers.

A stall is:

an individual compartment for an animal in a stable or barn, enclosed on three sides/small space; synonym: stable

or

a booth or stand in which merchandise is displayed for sale

It may be an attempt at a pun, using stall for store (a place where merchandise is offered for sale), or an outright mistake by someone misunderstanding the language.

For a restaurant to refer to a stall (a place to feed animals) would be found (mildly, at least) offensive to many people. However, as a mistake, it's a good one.

Stall and store are not related. It is simply an error as far as I know. It is not similar enough, imo, to be an eggcorn:

an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker's dialect The new phrase introduces a meaning that is different from the original, but plausible in the same context, such as "old-timers' disease" for "Alzheimer's disease".

Baited and bated are homophones, and homophone substitution is easy to do with unfamiliar words (such as bated).

Geoffrey Taylor humorously (and consciously) captured this misuse in verse in his poem Cruel Clever Cat (where Sally is the cat):

Sally, having swallowed cheese,
Directs down holes the scented breeze,
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

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Another one I enjoy is the sports broadcasters expression "hone in", confusing "home" and "hone". –  andy256 Apr 7 at 3:54
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Eggcorn is the word I was looking for, I'm wrapped with your answer :-) –  Adam Eberbach Apr 7 at 4:27
    
@AdamEberbach - good one! :D –  medica Apr 7 at 4:31
    
I would have said it was a clever pun if it was displayed where there is a delicatessen counter; in Italy bars (similar to BrEng cafès) do serve a limited choice of food, snacks and cakes. Is that also true in the US? –  Mari-Lou A Apr 7 at 6:50
    
@Mari-LouA - yes, but in America, we don't call them stalls (at least I've never heard it, nor seen it described this way in a story or review, etc. We call small areas of food sale displays, case, or selection, but not stall. I thought it might be a clever pun as well, in a country that uses stall for food vending. –  medica Apr 7 at 20:05

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