Word of the Day
Sunday, July 01, 2012

Definitions for mumpsimus

  1. Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy.
  2. A person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice.

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Citations for mumpsimus
"I profess, my good lady," replied I, "that had any one but you made such a declaration, I should have thought it as capricious as that of the clergyman, who, without vindicating his false reading, preferred, from habit's sake, his old Mumpsimus... Sir Walter Scott, The Talisman
Mr. Burgess, who sticks (I fancy) to his old mumpsimus, thought that the other gentleman might have given the canoe a shove to get it clear of the lock… Ronald A. Knox, The Footsteps at the Lock
Origin of mumpsimus
Mumpsimus comes from a story (perhaps first told by Erasmus) about an illiterate priest who mispronounced a word while reciting the liturgy. The priest refused to change the word, even when he was corrected.