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Believers are called Mormons after the Book of Mormon (and have been since the 1830s),[1] which takes its name from the prophet who they believe compiled it and/or the Waters of Mormon mentioned in it.[2] Various implausible etymologies have been proposed, usually in attempts to discredit or defend the Mormon faith.[3]


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  1. The ancient American prophet of Mormon theology who Mormons believe compiled the Book of Mormon.

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Mormon ‎(plural Mormons)

  1. (originally derogatory) A person who views Joseph Smith, Jr. as a prophet, and considers the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price to be holy.

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Mormon ‎(not comparable)

  1. Of, or pertaining to, the faith established by Joseph Smith, Jr.

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  1. ^ An early use is in the title of the 1839 Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons, Or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri.
  2. ^ Within the Book of Mormon, the waters are said by the book to have been named by "the king" (taken in context to be King Noah).
  3. ^ See Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, volume 13 (2015, ISBN 1508514119). The most prominent pro-Mormon etymology is the one, suggested in an 1834 Times and Seasons letter, that the term derives from English more + Egyptian [script needed] ‎(mon, good), which, however, modern scholarship considers figurative at best — see Paul Y. Hoskisson, What's in a Name? Mormon part 1 (Insights 32/2, 2012) and part 2 (Insights 32/3, 2012). Anti-Mormon etymologies are equally implausible. Eber D. Howe suggested in 1834 that "The English word Mormon [...] is the English termination of the Greek word, "Mormoo," which we find defined in an old obsolete Dictionary "bug-bear, hob-goblin, raw head, and bloody bones"; Hoskisson writes that "almost any knowledgeable reader, even in 1834, would have recognized that this definition is not only fabricated but downright silly." An anonymous editorialist wrote in 1841 that "[In] the reformed Egyptian tongue, [...] Mormon [is] a writer of wicked, absurd, fictitious nonsense, for evil purposes, to make sorcerors", which the Interpreter calls "laughable".