April 11, 2012
A useful term that’s several years old now, but one I’ve just learned.
The “Cupertino effect” is the name that’s been coined for errors that arise from an over-muscular application of the spellcheck function of word processors. A spellchecker might erroneously substitute “prostitute” for “prosciutto” in a recipe, for example. Or the spellchecker might discard the proper name of a Pakistani political organization, the Muttahida Quami Movement, and refer instead to the Muttonhead Quail Movement.
Apparently a common such error in official European Union documents has been the substitution of “Cupertino” for misspellings of “cooperation.” Hence the coinage of “Cupertino effect.”
Why would the word “Cupertino” be in the spellchecker at all? Because it is the worldwide headquarters of Apple, of course.