ghost word
Definition - A word that exists (i.e. is a dictionary entry) because of either a misunderstanding or a copyist's error.

Example -
The word Dord became a dictionary entry though it was really a misinterpretation of a card heading "D or d."

Etymology -
According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable: the term ghost word was "invented by the lexicographer W. W. Skeat in 1886 to denote words that are not 'real' words because they have come into existence in error."

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1886:
"Report upon ‘*Ghost-words’, or Words which have no real Existence…We should jealously guard against all chances of giving any undeserved record of words which had never any real existence, being mere coinages due to the blunders of printers or scribes, or to the perfervid imaginations of ignorant or blundering editors."
( Skeat in Trans. Philol. Soc. (1885–7) ii. 350–1 )



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