False etymology & etymological hoaxes

Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 08:15 pm
There have been many outright hoaxes about etymological origin on"the internet, from the **** = fornication under consent of the king to some that are genuine mistakes.

Etymology is a strange bird, I once wondered as a child if "beating around the bush" came from hunting rabbits with clubs. Had I not replaced that theory as a teenager with the one in which I thought it was procrastination in sex (or foreplay) I might have been guilty of making something up too.

There are many reasons for false etymology to spread, sometimes it is a cruel joke (e.g. handicap = hand in cap) and sometimes the false etymology just made enough sense to spread.

I'll post some famous examples of false etymology here.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 5,819 • Replies: 4
No top replies

Craven de Kere
Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 08:19 pm

Many thought that this word was found in the OED, they are partially correct. It is found but not in the modern use (with the meaning of ejaculate or achieve orgasm).

The OED simply listed the latin preposition.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 08:34 pm
Craven, Interesting topic. I was burned recently in another thread. Hit the hay. I had a source, but the source was clearly mistaken. Not a nautical derivation at all.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about this topic. I find it tres interesting.
0 Replies
Reply Mon 12 May, 2003 08:34 pm
Etty Mology isn't my aunt?
0 Replies
Reply Tue 13 May, 2003 10:28 pm
One of my favorites, which I just found out was false (if etymonline's site is correct) is the origin of "On the wagon." I heard that this phrase came into use during the burning of the Catholic martyrs in London -- people from all around would go to see the burnings, stop on the way for a beer at "The Swan" (or many other pubs, I'm sure), and because the ladies weren't allowed in the pub, one man had to stay on the wagon with them while the rest of the men went to drink. And that obviously is where "off the wagon" was supposed to originate, as well. etymonline's site states that the phrase was originally "on the water cart."
0 Replies

Related Topics

deal - Question by WBYeats
Drs. = female doctor? - Question by oristarA
Let pupils abandon spelling rules, says academic - Discussion by Robert Gentel
Please, I need help. - Question by imsak
Is this sentence grammatically correct? - Question by Sydney-Strock
"come from" - Question by mcook
  1. Forums
  2. » False etymology & etymological hoaxes
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.07 seconds on 02/21/2024 at 03:20:36