folk etymology


Definition of folk etymology

: the transformation of words so as to give them an apparent relationship to other better-known or better-understood words (as in the change of Spanish cucaracha to English cockroach)

First Known Use of folk etymology

1882, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about folk etymology

Time Traveler for folk etymology

Time Traveler

The first known use of folk etymology was in 1882

See more words from the same year

Statistics for folk etymology

Cite this Entry

“Folk etymology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on folk etymology Encyclopedia article about folk etymology

Comments on folk etymology

What made you want to look up folk etymology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!