Is there a single word or phrase for something that is so commonly spelt or said incorrectly, that when said properly looks or sounds odd? E.g.

  • "Company staff is expert in management..."
  • Saying the champagne Moet as "Mo-waaay" (rather than "Mo-wet")

Any ideas or other examples appreciated!

  • Decades ago, when I was still a nuclear physicist, the mispronunciation "nucular" was so common, even among engineers, that once I found myself saying it. – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Jul 3 '15 at 8:46
  • "Company staff is expert in management ..." uses 'grammatical concord' and is not considered 'incorrect' (though I wouldn't use it). – Edwin Ashworth Jul 3 '15 at 8:49
  • @ab2 It always filled me with some trepidation that one person with his finger on the button, namely George W. Bush, couldn't even pronounce the word properly. – WS2 Jul 3 '15 at 8:58
  • @EdwinAshworth - sorry, should have said that my examples are the correct if unpopular way of saying those things! – Mark McMullan Jul 3 '15 at 11:59
  • This doesn't answer your single-word request question, but you might find it interesting: youtube.com/watch?v=8nYmWt1J4Lg – Lucky Jul 3 '15 at 12:12

The term mumpsimus is used for persistent misuse, including that due to ingrainedness:


  1. adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy ...


  • 2
    +1. But I think sumpsimus (adherence to the right form when the wrong one is more common) would be more suited to the OP's requirement. – Tushar Raj Jul 3 '15 at 8:47
  • @TusharRaj Yes, I've voted for you both - mumpsimus and sumpsimus - for you each make important points. – WS2 Jul 3 '15 at 9:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.