7 Fake Words That Actually Ended Up in the Dictionary


There are several dictionaries that have featured ghost words--aka fake words that have been published as a result of misreadings and typographical errors. According to Mental Floss, here are seven fake words that have actually been published in a dictionary. Here they are:
  • Dord. First appearing in the 1934 second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary, dord was said to mean “density.” It hung out until 1939, when an editor finally noticed its lack of etymology. 
  • Abacot. Almost 300 years after appearing in a dictionary, the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) discovered that the wordy wraith was actually a misprint of bycoket, a cap or head-dress.
  • Morse. Morse was merely a misinterpretation of the far less exciting “nurse”--meaning to nurture or care for. 
  • Phantomnation. Meaning “appearance as of a phantom; illusion,” this word was attributed to Alexander Pope’s translation of The Odyssey. 
  • Momblishness. Explained as “muttering talk,” this linguistic bogey was discovered to be a “scribal error” of the plural of “ne-moubliemie”--which is French for the forget-me-not-flower. 
  • Cairbow. Cairbow was merely a misreading of caribou.
  • Esquivalience. This word, meaning “the willful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities,” materialized in the second edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD).7 Fake Words That Ended Up in the Dictionary | Mental Floss
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