A false etymology (fake etymology, popular etymology, etymythology, pseudo-etymology, or par(a)etymology), sometimes called folk etymology – although the last term is also a technical term in linguistics – is a popularly held but false belief about the origin or derivation of a specific word. Such etymologies often have the feel of urban legends, and can be much more colorful and fanciful than the typical etymologies found in dictionaries, often involving stories of unusual practices in particular subcultures (e.g. Oxford students from non-noble families being supposedly forced to write sine nobilitate by their name, soon abbreviated to s.nob., hence the word snob). Many recent examples are "backronyms" (acronyms made up to explain a term), as in snob, and posh for "port outward, starboard homeward"; many other sourced examples are listed in the article on backronyms.
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