There's a phenomenon I've encountered occasionally of splitting a word for emphasis:

Do I want to get a kebab? Abso-bloomin'-lutely!

Being "absolutely" given the enhancement of the insertion of "bloomin'" to convey enthusiasm for the proposed course. Occasionally "bloomin'" would find itself ousted in favour of "bloody" or something of a more Anglo-Saxon favour.

Then today this (fictionalised for ease) occurred on the radio:

Yes, It's as if I was here in a past life. I feel like I walked this way in different carnations.

This seems more of an insertion of "different" as it fit with the flow of the sentence more than for any emphasis.


Is there a name for this class of phenomenon, are the two instances described together or distinguished in some way?

  • I accidentally searched for duplicates on ELL instead of ELU. Not finding a suitable candidate, I posted an answer here. But checking again I see it obviously it is a duplicate (OP's incarnation example above is effectively meaningless). Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 15:22
  • Thanks for answering and pointing it out. I searched for a dupe here but obviously didn't specify the correct terms to unearth this question. @FumbleFingers Closing as duplicate. Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 16:55
  • I've only just noticed your (fictionalised for ease) disclaimer before the second example. I'm guessing either you misheard something or you've mistranscribed it. I suppose it's feasible a native speaker might discard the first syllable from incarnation by way of "wordplay" in some unusual context, but I doubt there's anything useful for you to learn in that area. Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 17:08
  • I'm in the position that I can check as i-Player should have it. I'll not report back unless there's something remarkable. @FumbleFingers Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 17:48
  • I can perhaps imagine in different carnations being used facetiously. Compare with That's a whole 'nother ball game - which is syntactic garbage (it should be other or different, not a contraction of another). But that type of wordplay is probably best avoided by most learners. Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


It's called...

Expletive infixation (Wikipedia)
a process by which an expletive or profanity is inserted into a word, usually for intensification.

The OP's cited usage in different carnations doesn't really have a name. It's just a "mistake". Or maybe malapropism (the speaker/writer should have used in different incarnations).

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