A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Avoid like the plaque

I noticed that the expression “avoid like the plaque” showing up in some search results I was doing. This is “plaque” with-a-queue, not “plague”-with-a-gee. This seems like an odd misspelling to me, and I was curious how often this occurs. The Bing Ngram data gives us the tools: given “avoid like the”, the word “plague” occurs 98.68% of the time (in the web body data). The word “plaque” is the second most common word, occurring 0.13% of the time.

Here are the top  words and percentages:

plague:98.68%, </s>: 0.48%, plaque: 0.13%, pl: 0.12%, great: 0.07%, swine: 0.06%, velvet: 0.04%, black: 0.02%, proverbial: 0.02%, bubonic: 0.02%, bubolic: 0.02%, ten: 0.01%, plagued: 0.01%, plauge: 0.01%, bird: 0.01%, nuclear: 0.01%, blight: 0.01%, clap: 0.01%, lague: 0.01%, plagu: 0.01%, pleague: 0.01%

</s> means “end of sentence.”

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