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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Change in the form of a word or phrase resulting from a mistaken assumption about its composition or meaning, as in shamefaced for earlier shamfast, "bound by shame,” or cutlet from French côtelette, "little rib.”

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A modification of a word resulting from a misunderstanding of its etymology, as with island, belfry, and hangnail.
  • n. Such a misunderstanding; a false etymology that incorrectly explains the origin of a word.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a popular but erroneous etymology


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