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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2005-10-27 23:24:07

From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"entomology of the word" for "etymology of the word"

Over 500 ghits. This isn’t an eggcorn—the writers either don’t know what “entomology” really means or they just weren’t paying attention while transcribing the originals of their texts. Still, trying to imagine what the “entomology of the word” could refer to turns the phrase into something like a koan. Examples:

Antiquaries have not settled the entomology of the word mosaic.

Once upon a time, the meaning of a word could always be guessed by simply tracing the entomology of the word back to its lowest roots. … .&id=31583

By the way, the entomology of the word “expert” actually means “one who is adept at experiencing.” … booth.html



#2 2005-10-31 12:50:41

Ben Zimmer
Registered: 2005-10-14
Posts: 15

Re: "entomology of the word" for "etymology of the word"

Yes, this would just be a malapropism. It’s also something of an inside joke for members of the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban. It’s one of a number of “shibboleths” used to trap the unwary (newbies point out the error, not realizing it’s intentional). They also like to call Australia “Austria”, write “voracious” for “veracious”, etc.



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