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[fohk-lawr, -lohr] /ˈfoʊkˌlɔr, -ˌloʊr/
the traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; lore of a people.
the study of such lore.
a body of widely held but false or unsubstantiated beliefs.
Origin of folklore
1846; folk + lore1; coined by English scholar and antiquary William John Thoms (1803-85)
Related forms
folklorist, noun
folkloristic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for folklore


the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, etc
the body of stories and legends attached to a particular place, group, activity, etc: Hollywood folklore, rugby folklore
the anthropological discipline concerned with the study of folkloric materials
Derived Forms
folkloric, adjective
folklorist, noun, adjective
folkloristic, adjective
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
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Word Origin and History for folklore

1846, coined by antiquarian William J. Thoms (1803-1885) as an Anglo-Saxonism (replacing popular antiquities) and first published in the "Athenaeum" of Aug. 22, 1846, from folk + lore. Old English folclar meant "homily."

This word revived folk in a modern sense of "of the common people, whose culture is handed down orally," and opened up a flood of compound formations, e.g. folk art (1892), folk-hero (1874), folk-medicine (1877), folk-tale/folk tale (1850; Old English folctalu meant "genealogy"), folk-song (1847), folk singer (1876), folk-dance (1877).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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folklore in Culture

folklore definition

Traditional stories and legends, transmitted orally (rather than in writing) from generation to generation. The stories of Paul Bunyan are examples of American folklore.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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