Mumpsimus – a traditional notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable
Yes this is a real word! Mumpsimus: A traditional notion that is obstinately held although it is unreasonable. A person who obstinately adheres to old ways in spite of clear evidence that they are wrong; an ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform. An obvious error that is obstinately repeated despite correction.
According to Wikipedia [Internet Archive link]…
[March 15, 2022: The above Internet Archive link to a Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpsimus contains much of the same information as is contained in Barb’s blog post Wikipedia excerpt for the word Mumpsimus. The above Internet Archive link to a Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpsimus is dated February 4, 2016 and contains information that is the closest match we could find in the Internet Archive to Barb’s blog post Wikipedia excerpt. We were unable to find an exact copy of Barb’s blog post Wikipedia excerpt in the Internet Archive.
The Internet Archive link to the Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpsimus that is dated October 3, 2019 is the first Internet Archive copy of a Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpriumus made after the date of Barb’s blog post, and the information contained in the October 3, 2019 copy is quite a bit different than Barb’s blog post Wikipedia excerpt.
You might find it interesting to explore more of the Internet Archive copies of the Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpsimus to see how the Wikipedia entry for the word Mumpsimus has changed over time. 🙂 Editors.]
Mumpsimus refers to the act of following (or a person who follows) a routine, idea, custom, set of beliefs or a certain use of language after it has been shown to be unreasonable or incorrect. For example, a person may continue to pronounce “picturesque” as “picturesqueak”, even after being corrected by someone else.
Mumpsimus has been defined as a “traditional custom obstinately adhered to however unreasonable it may be” and as “someone who obstinately clings to an error, bad habit or prejudice, even after the foible has been exposed and the person humiliated; also, any error, bad habit, or prejudice clung to in this fashion.” Merriam-Webster considers such an adherent to an exposed error to be a bigoted person.
The term originates from a story about a priest who misread sumpsimus as mumpsimus. After being told about his mistake he stated that he had been using mumpsimus for a number of years and was not about to change, saying “I’ve got so used to using the word mumpsimus that I’ll just go on saying it that way.”
The Oxford English Dictionary credits the English diplomat Richard Pace (1482–1536) with introducing the word, but it may have first been used Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) in a letter he wrote in August 1516. Pace acknowledged that he had taken the anecdote from Erasmus in a letter that he wrote to Erasmus in 1517. Another source attributes the tale to King Henry VII of England (1457–1509), which would make it even older.
William Tyndale may have been the first to use the word in an English-language book.
The cant word quickly became widely used by sixteenth century writers. In William Tyndale’s 1530 book Practice of Prelates, the word was used in the sense of a stubborn opponent to Tyndale’s views. He said that the men whom Cardinal Wolsey had asked to find reasons why Catherine of Aragon was not truly the wife of King Henry VIII of England were “all lawyers, and other doctors, mumpsimuses of divinity.”
Henry VIII reportedly said of arguing preachers, “Some are too stiff in their old Mumpsimus, and others too busie and curious in their new Sumpsimus.”
Hugh Latimer (1487–1555) used the term in two sermons he preached in 1552, saying “when my neighbor is taught, and knoweth the truth, and will not believe it, but will abide in his old mumpsimus…” and again “Some be so obstinate in their old mumpsimus, that they cannot abide the true doctrine of God.”
The visible church has an abundance of mumpsimuses. Who or what do you think are the most dangerous mumpsimuses in the visible church?