February 5, 2009 7:56 AM Subscribe
A false etymology is "an assumed or postulated etymology that current consensus among scholars of historical linguistics holds to be incorrect." The internet has provided a platform for the rapid spread of some false etymologies - Snopes has posts debunking Picnic / Handicap / Buck / Crowbar. On the other hand, a folk etymology can mean "the process by which a word or phrase, usually one of seemingly opaque formation, is arbitrarily reshaped so as to yield a form which is considered to be more transparent." Other interesting anomalies of etymology: backronyms and eggcorns.
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