Vous êtes ici : Home Frogologoblog Simon Prettymology


Musings mainly on language

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form


Posted by on in Uncategorized
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 5076
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Spurious or false etymology is sometimes known as "folk etymology" (which actually has a different meaning in linguistics) or Sunday etymology. Germans have a lovely term: "Kling-Klang-Etymologie" to indicate pseudo derivations such as Gott (God) deriving from gut (good) due to similar sounds. There ought to be a term "urban etymology" (well, now there is) to describe similar hopefuls. I want to propose the term "prettymology" for explanations that are either "urban etymologies" or legitimate but "nice" and appealing too. An example follows:

Liverpool is said to give senior citizens free bus passes which become valid from 9 am. One subset of the beneficiaries regularly attempt to stretch the envelope by arriving a bit too early with a combination of shopping basket, optimism, a fairly good understanding of human nature, and a nice smile, asking "Are we too early?", earning them the bus crew's nickname of "Twirlies"!

(For non-native English speakers: 'to early" sounds like "twirly", and "twirl" also means "spin" a verb often used in the expression "to take something (often a car) for a spin", the pun being that wheels must spin for a car to move, and a twirl is (thus) often considered as a simple, but enjoyable ride.)

Trackback URL for this blog entry.


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest lundi, 16 décembre 2019
Vous êtes ici : Home Frogologoblog Simon Prettymology