American English

Definition of folk etymology noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary


folk etymology

(also popular etymology) [uncountable, countable]
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a process by which a word is changed, for example because of a mistaken belief that it is related to another word, or to make a foreign word sound more familiar Folk etymology has created the cheeseburger and the veggieburger, but the first hamburgers were in fact named after the city of Hamburg.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: folk etymology