5

I am familiar with the "-ridden" construction, e.g. "anxiety-ridden". I also know that "riddled with X" is possible. I recently saw the combination "ridden with X", which sounds off to me, but I'm not sure whether my intuition is a reliable guide here. Does "ridden with X" make sense, or is it an eggcorn?

  • Does anxiety "ride" you, or does it "riddle" you. Both make sense. I don't know which came first, and which is the eggcorn. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '13 at 12:41
  • @PeterShor Shouldn't it be "ridden by" rather than "ridden with", though? – MrMulliner Nov 17 '13 at 12:46
  • It should definitely be "ridden by anxiety", and not "ridden with anxiety". Maybe somebody misconstrued "anxiety-ridden" to mean "ridden with anxiety". I don't think that counts as an eggcorn, because it's incorrect back-formation, and not a misheard pronunciation. You can google and find "anxiety-riddled" as well; that's an eggcorn. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '13 at 12:50
  • @PeterShor - thanks, that's what I wanted to know. If you'll enter that as an answer I'll approve it. – MrMulliner Nov 17 '13 at 13:10
3

It should be "ridden by anxiety", and not "ridden with anxiety". Maybe somebody misconstrued "anxiety-ridden" to mean "ridden with anxiety". I don't think that counts as an eggcorn, because it's incorrect back-formation, and not a misheard pronunciation.

You can google and find "anxiety-riddled" as well; that's an eggcorn. The "adjective-ridden" formation dates back to at least 1812 (here is "fear-ridden" from Google books) and "adjective-riddled" only appears much later.

| improve this answer | |
  • I don't think -riddled is an eggcorn. Worm-riddled (so full of holes it resembles a riddle or sieve) is both venerable and purely descriptive; what is wrong with anxiety-riddled as a metaphor? – Tim Lymington Nov 17 '13 at 14:27
  • 3
    I would say that "worm-riddled" is not an eggcorn, but "guilt-riddled" is. – Peter Shor Nov 17 '13 at 14:46

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.