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Word of the Day
Monday, March 27, 2017

Definitions for mumpsimus

  1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy (opposed to sumpsimus).
  2. a person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice (opposed to sumpsimus).

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Citations for mumpsimus
Another misnomer in which the news media perseverate is "Fighting Irish." Surely that must be a prime example of mumpsimus, the pig-headed persistence in error. Leon C. Chesley, "Vocabulary Test for Football," New York Times, November 28, 1993
To qualify for keen enjoyment of Naming Day in Eden, by Noah Jonathan Jacobs, you should be dictionary lover .... You should relish such stories as that of the medieval monk who, having said "mumpsimus" instead of "sumpsimus," insisted that he liked "mumpsimus" better and would continue to say it. John T. Frederick, "Speaking of Books," The Rotarian, December 1958
Origin of mumpsimus
Mumpsimus entered English from a story, which perhaps originated with Erasmus, of an illiterate priest who said mumpsimus rather than sūmpsimus (1st plural perfect indicative of Latin sūmere to pick up) while reciting the liturgy, and refused to change the word when corrected.