folk etymologyfolk etymology
unscientific etymology; popular but incorrect notion of the origin and derivation of a word: folk etymology may bring about change, as in the case of “cole slaw” becoming “cold slaw”
Change in the form of a word or phrase resulting from a mistaken assumption about its composition or meaning, as in shamefaced for earlier shamfast, “bound by shame,” or cutlet from French côtelette, “little rib.”
(plural folk etymologies)
English from the 1880s (Abram Smythe Palmer, 1882), a calque of German Volksetymologie (1820s, in 1821 as Volks-Etymologie in J. A. Schmeller, Die mundarten Bayerns).