law of Hobson-Jobson

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English[edit]

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Noun[edit]

law of Hobson-Jobson

  1. The rule that words or phrases borrowed between languages will be modified in their pronunciation as necessary to conform to the set of sounds used by the borrowing language.
    • 1921, H.L. Mencken, The American Language, second ed., chapter 2 , section 2,
      Its variations show a familiar effort to bring a new and strange word into harmony with the language—an effort arising from what philologists call the law of Hobson-Jobson.
    • Ibid., chapter 10, section 3,
      Reckawackes, by the law of Hobson-Jobson, was turned into Rockaway, and Pentapang into Port Tobacco.
    • 1921, John S. Farmer, A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English Slang and Its Analogues, page 482, s.v. Tommy-axe,
      Tommy-axe. A corruption of tomahawk: an instance of the law of Hobson-Jobson (q.v.).

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