Random Word: Mumpsimus

originally posted Oct. 10, 2006


noun: a traditional notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable; “he still holds to the old mumpsimous that a woman’s place is in the kitchen”

Origin: 1520–30. According to a tale, there once lived a monk who, when delivering the Latin Eucharist, due to his illiteracy or ignorance used “mumpsimus” instead of “sumpsimus”. Although he was corrected, he refused to change to the correct word. Sumpsimus literally means “we have taken in the mouth”, as in the Holy Communion. According to this tale, the monk stated that he had repeated it that was for forty years saying, “I will not change my old ‘mumpsimus’ for your new ‘sumpsimus'”. Hence, the word is applied to an obstinate person who refuses to sway from their customs or ideas despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Following up from my previous blog entry, perhaps our assumptions and celebration of America’s discovery has kept us in a perpetual state of mumpsimus!


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