May 31, 1947


Author Affiliations

2, Seaford Court, Great Portland Street, London, W. 1., England.

JAMA. 1947;134(5):479. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880220063025

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To the Editor:—  I noticed that in The Journal, Dec. 14, 1946, you commented on John Forbes's article Myth and Mumpsimus and gave a meaningless explanation (though correct) of the derivation of mumpsimus.To give the person, tense and mood of the verb sumo; from which sumpsimus was corrupted, gives no clue to the meaning whatsoever.The explanation is that an illiterate English priest, when corrected for reading "Quod in ore mumpsimus" in The Mass, replied "I will not change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus." This story originally came out in R. Pace De Fructu 1517, page 80—but maybe you have not had access to this reference. You can check this in the New English Dictionary or Ivor Brown's book "Just Another Word."

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