- a modification of a linguistic form according either to a falsely assumed etymology, as Welsh rarebit from Welsh rabbit, or to a historically irrelevant analogy, as bridegroom from bridegome.
- a popular but false notion of the origin of a word.
Origin of folk etymology
First recorded in 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for folk etymology
It has sometimes been assumed that most names of this class are due to folk-etymology.
This historical connection is most probably due to folk-etymology.
But occasionally the results of folk-etymology are literally preposterous.
The companion-ladder on ship-board is a product of folk-etymology.
But the story of Tuna gives no folk-etymology of the name Tuna.Modern Mythology
- the gradual change in the form of a word through the influence of a more familiar word or phrase with which it becomes associated, as for example sparrow-grass for asparagus
- a popular but erroneous conception of the origin of a word
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012