Word of the Day

Sunday, July 01, 2012

mumpsimus

\MUHMP-suh-muhs\ , noun;
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.
Quotes:
"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:
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.
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