Folk etymology  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Folk etymology is a term used in two distinct ways:
  • A commonly held misunderstanding of the origin of a particular word, a false etymology.
  • "The popular perversion of the form of words in order to render it apparently significant"; "the process by which a word or phrase, usually one of seemingly opaque formation, is arbitrarily reshaped so as to yield a form which is considered to be more transparent."

The term "folk etymology", as referring both to erroneous beliefs about derivation and the consequent changes to words, is derived from the German Volksetymologie. Similar terms are found in other languages, e.g. Volksetymologie itself in Danish and Dutch, Afrikaans Volksetimologie, Swedish Folketymologi, and full parallels in non-Germanic languages, e.g. French Étymologie populaire, Hungarian Népetimológia; an example of an alternative name is Italian Pseudoetimologia.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Folk etymology" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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