Folk-etymology; a dictionary of verbal corruptions (1882) PDF by Abram Smythe Almer

Folk-etymology; a dictionary of verbal corruptions or words perverted in form or meaning, by false derivation or mistaken analogy.

Folk-etymology; a dictionary of verbal corruptions


By Folk-etymology is meant the influence exercised upon words, both as to their form and meaning, by the popular use and misuse of them. In a special sense, it is intended to denote the corruption which words undergo, owing either to false ideas about their derivation or to a mistaken analogy with other words to which they are supposed to be related. 

Some introductory remarks on the predisposing causes of this verbal pathology and its symptomatic features may conveniently find a place here. In every department of knowledge, a fertile source of error may be found in the reluctance generally felt to acknowledge one's ignorance.

 Few men have the courage to say " I don't know." If a subject comes upon which we have no real information, we make a shift with our imagination to eke out what is wanting in our knowledge, and with unconscious insincerity let " maybe " serve in the place of "is."Another infirmity of mind which helps to foster and perpetuate the growth of errors is the instinctive dislike that most men feel for everything untried and unfamiliar. If, according to the accepted maxim, " the unknown ever passes for magnifical," it is no less true that in the majority of instances the unknown arouses active feelings of suspicion and resentment. 

The Reverend Abram Smythe Palmer was a doctor of divinity, lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin, and enthusiastic lexicographer and mythographer.

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