Definition of folk etymology in English:

folk etymology

Line breaks: folk ety¦mol|ogy


  • 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.
  • 1.1 [mass noun] The 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.

More definitions of folk etymology

Definition of folk etymology in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kərf
a slit made by cutting with a saw