folk etymology(redirected from Folk etymologies)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
Change in the form of a word or phrase resulting from a mistaken assumption about its composition or meaning, as in shamefaced for earlier shamfast, "bound by shame," or cutlet from French côtelette, "little rib."
1. (Linguistics) the gradual change in the form of a word through the influence of a more familiar word or phrase with which it becomes associated, as for example sparrow-grass for asparagus
2. (Linguistics) a popular but erroneous conception of the origin of a word
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 word.
the reanalysis of a word by native speakers into a new element or elements, e.g. hamburger (properly ‘from Hamburg’) being split into ham- and -burger; and the subsequent combination of -burger with a number of words in which it is used to mean ‘ground patty.’See also: Linguistics