folk etymology
Noun

folk etymology

  1. A misunderstanding of the etymology of a word appealing to the unlearned mind; an etymology that incorrectly explains the origin of a word based on a judgement out of knowledge or passions of a common speaker of the language instead of expertise in its past.
    Synonyms: fake etymology, false etymology, pseudo-etymology, paraetymology, paretymology
    Many folk etymologies involve backronyms.
  2. A modification of a word or its spelling resulting from a misunderstanding of its etymology, as with island, belfry, and hangnail.
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