• synonyms


[fohk-lawr, -lohr]
  1. the traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; lore of a people.
  2. the study of such lore.
  3. a body of widely held but false or unsubstantiated beliefs.
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Origin of folklore

1846; folk + lore1; coined by English scholar and antiquary William John Thoms (1803–85)
Related formsfolk·lor·ist, nounfolk·lor·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for folklorist

Historical Examples of folklorist

  • Only recently has she been indicated as her nation's first folklorist and feminist!

    Brazilian Tales

    Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

  • There is still to notice the unsatisfactory attitude of the folklorist.

  • The Folklorist is not unnaturally jealous of what, in some degree, looks like Folk-Lore.

    Little Johannes

    Frederik van Eeden

  • Mannhardt's method was more that of the folklorist than the philologist.

  • Afanasiev, Alexander Nicolaievitsh, Russian folklorist, born in 1826.

British Dictionary definitions for folklorist


  1. the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, etc
  2. the body of stories and legends attached to a particular place, group, activity, etcHollywood folklore; rugby folklore
  3. the anthropological discipline concerned with the study of folkloric materials
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Derived Formsfolkloric, adjectivefolklorist, noun, adjectivefolkloristic, 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

Word Origin and History for folklorist


1881, from folklore + -ist.

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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

folklorist in Culture


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

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