Share this entry

mumpsimus Line breaks: mump|si¦mus
Pronunciation: /ˈmʌmpsɪməs/

Definition of mumpsimus in English:

noun (plural mumpsimuses)

1A traditional custom or idea adhered to although shown to be unreasonable.
Example sentences
  • ‘A young priest once corrected an old priest for saying mumpsimus instead of sumpsimus in the first prayer after Communion in the Latin Mass. ‘Son,’ said the old priest, ‘I've been saying mumpsimus for thirty years and I'm not going to change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus.'’
1.1A person who obstinately adheres to old customs or ideas in spite of evidence that they are wrong or unreasonable.
Example sentences
  • At one time or another, all journalists run the risk of being mumpsimuses - if there is such a word.
  • These dealers and collectors are real mumpsimuses about it, just like those who misuse the word ‘stub’.
  • We've all got a bit of a mumpsimus in us in some way shape or form don't we?


Mid 16th century: erroneously for Latin sumpsimus in quod in ore sumpsimus 'which we have taken into the mouth' (from the Eucharist), in allusion to the story of an illiterate priest who, when corrected for reading quod in ore mumpsimus, replied ‘I will not change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus’.

Definition of mumpsimus in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day doofus
Pronunciation: ˈduːfʌs
a stupid person