Protesting my innocence

As we approached, I rolled down the window to protest my innocence, but was just waved through[/quote]

Interesting road trip, glad it wasn’t you.  But next time you are in fear of being stopped for something you didn’t do, you might just want to proclaim your innocence, rather than protest it. 

Heh, thanks.  My own little eggcorn, I guess:

Though I can’t find a cite for it being incorrect to protest, and there are a lot of “protest innocence” hits on Google:

Is one before you’re found guilty and another after you’ve already been found guilty? … nocence%22

I think one can proclaim or declare or state or argue.  Sure you can protest as well, but it sounds like you are confessing.

Sort of a double-negative?

ie:  I protest that I am indeed innocent!  In other words, I am guilty. 

Though it’s in those dictionary links.  I guess not all meanings of the word ‘protest’ are about opposing something.  In fact, a lot of dictionaries (see link above) specifically use the phrase “protest innocence” to illustrate one of the meanings: “affirm or avow formally or solemnly.”

You’re right!  Dictionaries are living books as the language is continually changing.  I think your double negative comment best sums it up. 

Check out the eggcorn database all the same.  It’s funny stuff.  Reminds me of the mondegreen stuff, but for language.

And check out this TED video on the changing nature of the dictionary.

I love the TED stuff, especially since it’s all on youtube in h.264 now, so it can be watched on AppleTV in HD :wink:  I’ve spent so much time on there.  TED-surfing is second only to wikipedia-surfing as a time waster. 

BTW, the use of ‘protest’ as meaning “to assert, avow, affirm” isn’t new language.  OED says that use of ‘protest’ goes back to 1440.  And to use ‘protest’ to mean “To assert publicly, make known; to proclaim, declare.” goes back to 1533 (with Thomas More, interestingly).

So yeah, I guess it has two meanings.  “To object to (an action or event); to challenge or contest; (also) to make the subject of a public protest or demonstration.”  is first seen in 1887.

I had to open a very dusty book to get that info.

Sorry for another reply, but that video was cool, Dave.  Thanks.

Dictionaries are steampunk!  Awesome, and funny.  Paper is the enemy of words.

Also, the hambutt problem is a good analogy.
My first wiktionary link:

I haven’t used wiktionary very much at all, but it does fit into the idea of evolving language.

How my brain works! Heh.

Julian Assange: “I hope to continue my work and continue to protest my innocence in this matter and to reveal as we get it, which we have not yet, the evidence from these allegations.”

And a bonus, because I’m a nerd:

You guys have spanned an entire thread over the use of a few words… You amaze me! :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree that dictionaries list this use, although it does still sound a little strange to me. ‘Proclaim’, on the other hand, implies making something official or to cause to become widely and publicly known. I think Julian is doing this in the above statement.

Bad example, Assange.

“I protest my innocence! I’m about as innocent as Lucifer, Your Honour. Why the hell are you granting me bail?”

Methinks the lady doth protest too much, says the guy who reads too much Shakespeare.

Heh, I think it all boils down to a difference between American English and British English. Even Shakespeare meant that “the lady vows or proclaims” too strongly, not that she carried a sign and sang 60s songs.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but In British English, protest is intransitive (ie: We protested against the planned pipeline) while in American English it is transitive (ie: We protested the planned pipeline). Or maybe I have that backwards.

So it may sound incorrect to American English speakers, but it’s natural to British English speakers. I guess we’re a bit of both in Canada.