folk etymology
noun Date: 1882 the transformation of words so as to give them an apparent relationship to other better-known or better-understood words (as in the change of Spanish cucaracha to English cockroach)

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • folk etymology — n. unscientific etymology; popular but incorrect notion of the origin and derivation of a word: folk etymology may bring about change, as in the case of “cole slaw” becoming “cold slaw” …   English World dictionary

  • folk etymology — is ‘a popular modifying of the form of a word or phrase in order to make it seem to be derived from a more familiar word’. Examples are cockroach (from Spanish cucaracha), sparrow grass (a dialect and colloquial name for asparagus), and hiccough… …   Modern English usage

  • Folk etymology — This article is about a technical term in linguistics. For incorrect popular etymologies, see false etymology. Folk etymology is change in a word or phrase over time resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familiar… …   Wikipedia

  • folk etymology — noun a popular but erroneous etymology • Hypernyms: ↑etymology * * * ˈfolk etymology 7 [folk etymology] (also ˌpopular etyˈmology) noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • folk etymology — folk′ etymol ogy n. 1) ling. 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[/ex] 2) ling. a popular… …   From formal English to slang

  • folk etymology — noun a) A modification of a word resulting from a misunderstanding of its etymology, as with island, belfry, and hangnail. b) Such a misunderstanding; a false etymology that incorrectly explains the origin of a word. See Also: folk etymologize …   Wiktionary

  • folk etymology — 1. 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. 2. a popular but false notion of the origin of a… …   Universalium

  • folk etymology — /foʊk ɛtəˈmɒlədʒi/ (say fohk etuh moluhjee) noun 1. a modification of a linguistic form according to a falsely assumed etymology, as in Welsh rarebit from Welsh rabbit. 2. a popularly held but nevertheless untrue belief as to the origin of a word …   Australian English dictionary

  • folk etymology — noun 1》 a popular but mistaken account of the origin of a word or phrase. 2》 the process by which the form of an unfamiliar or foreign word is adapted to a more familiar form through popular usage …   English new terms dictionary

  • folk — (n.) O.E. folc common people, laity; men; people, nation, tribe; multitude; troop, army, from P.Gmc. *folkom (Cf. O.Fris. folk, M.Du. volc, Ger. Volk people ), from P.Gmc. *fulka , perhaps originally host of warriors; Cf. O.N. folk people, also… …   Etymology dictionary

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