Talk:folk etymology

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search
TK archive icon.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for cleanup.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, though feel free to discuss its conclusions.


folk etymology

The definitions here need to be severely trimmed; they're getting encyclopaedic. The Wikipedia article also needs attention by the look of things if anyone feels so inclined. Thryduulf 22:40, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

How's it now? —RuakhTALK 01:44, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
much better, thank you. Thryduulf 07:31, 17 July 2007 (UTC)


Archived from RFV: January 2014[edit]

Green check.svg

The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

Please do not re-nominate for verification without comprehensive reasons for doing so.


folk etymology

Rfv-sense: "A modification of a word resulting from a misunderstanding of its etymology, as with island, belfry, and hangnail." Can the modification itself be called a folk etymology? --WikiTiki89 01:12, 4 January 2014 (UTC)

Cited on the citation page. SpinningSpark 11:54, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
Cited Lovely citations. A bit surprising to me. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
w:Use–mention distinction would invalidate all but the last one. DAVilla 05:52, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
All but the last one repeatedly use the term, one as many as a hundred times, but I can't win here, if I provide cites that don't include a definition they will be challenged as not being clearly unambiguous, even though the definition in the work makes clear their meaning. Does no one else here actually look at the sources. So let's change tack and say clearly widespread use. —This unsigned comment was added by Spinningspark (talkcontribs) at 09:24, January 6, 2014.
I'm going to at least reverse the senses. --WikiTiki89 15:51, 4 January 2014 (UTC)
That is not widespread use.
But the mere fact that a technical work once defines a term before repeatedly using it does not invalidate the work as a source of citations. If Spinningspark had not provided the url link it would not have been possible to find the abundant uses in these works. It is the abundant uses in these works that make it attestable, not the one definition in each. It is fairly clear that our definition reflects the common elements of the definitions given. DCDuring TALK 17:08, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I removed island from the list of examples since there's no folk etymology going on there. But the citations at Citations:folk etymology all seem to support the sense 'A misunderstanding of the etymology of a word', which isn't the sense being RFVed here. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 19:36, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
"remodelling of a word involves the replacement of one or more of its syllables by another word with which it is associated semantically this is normally referred to not as contamination but as folk etymology" (from one of the citations).
Surely you agree that the underlined terms, which are apposite to folk etymology, refer to a process of change of the words involved rather than a mere explanation without change, which is sense one. And that shamefaced is an alteration of shamefast, apparently based on interpreting the pronunciation of fast as that of faced. DCDuring TALK 20:04, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I guess I was thinking that the RFVed sense referred directly to the word itself rather than to the process of alteration. I'm not sure that there are really 2 definitions here anyway; I have to go to bed now, but maybe someone can hammer out a single sense that conforms to the citations. —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 21:06, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
I had that impression too. Perhaps the definition needs to be tweaked and clarified. As for island, the letter "s" was added by folk etymology. --WikiTiki89 23:11, 6 January 2014 (UTC)
That's just orthography; nothing to do with the word itself. The more I think about it, the more I think the wrong sense is being RFVed here. Does folk etymology ever mean merely "a misunderstanding of the etymology of a word", or does it always refer to a modification caused by that misunderstanding? —Aɴɢʀ (talk) 08:28, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it does. In my experience, that's the most common sense. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]. (The third source uses both senses.) —Mr. Granger (talkcontribs) 14:45, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I agree that sense 1 is the most common sense, whence my surprise at sense 2.
@Wikitiki: Linking with "and" the hypernyms in the distinct definitions we now have seems silly, given the problems we, supposedly knowledgable about this subject matter, have had in simply understanding the definitions. "Explanation of word origin or evolution" and "process leading to word change" seem to me to be distinct enough conceptually to merit distinct definitions. One isn't a subsense of the other (because the hypernyms differ), though the second presupposes the first. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Umm... What did I link with "and"? I don't understand what you're referring to. --WikiTiki89 19:08, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
You had suggested combining the two definitions. "Misunderstanding" and "modification" and the hypernyms in the definitions. I don't think any meaning-preserving combination, as using "and" or "or" to link the hypernyms (or their clauses) is an improvement over distinct definitions. DCDuring TALK 20:50, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
I don't remember ever suggesting that. --WikiTiki89 22:21, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Indeed you did not. I attributed a remark of Angr that you seemed to agree with to you. DCDuring TALK 23:02, 7 January 2014 (UTC)