Definition of folk etymology in English:

folk etymology

Syllabification: folk et·y·mol·o·gy

noun

  • 1A popular but mistaken account of the origin of a word or phrase.
    More example sentences
    • Every time I poke around in an area like this, I'm amazed by the range of nascent constructional folk etymologies that are out there.
    • So there were lots of these sort of folk etymologies.
    • Such folk etymologies are common, but worth verifying.
  • 1.1The process by which the form of an unfamiliar or foreign word is adapted to a more familiar form through popular usage.
    More example sentences
    • Here we see the workings of the process of linguistic change known as folk etymology.
    • We've been using eggcorn as a term for the kind of sporadic folk etymology represented by interpreting acorn as ‘egg corn’.
    • Smith doubted that Perchta descended from a pagan goddess, but thought that she was the personification of Epiphany (Perchta's Day), derived through folk etymology.

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