[fohk-lawr, -lohr] /ˈfoʊkˌlɔr, -ˌloʊr/

the traditional beliefs, legends, customs, etc., of a people; of a people.
the study of such lore.
a body of widely held but false or unsubstantiated beliefs.
the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, etc
the body of stories and legends attached to a particular place, group, activity, etc: Hollywood folklore, rugby folklore
the anthropological discipline concerned with the study of folkloric materials

1846, coined by antiquarian William J. Thoms (1803-1885) as an Anglo-Saxonism (replacing popular antiquities) and first published in the “Athenaeum” of Aug. 22, 1846, from folk + lore. Old English folclar meant “homily.”

This word revived folk in a modern sense of “of the common people, whose culture is handed down orally,” and opened up a flood of compound formations, e.g. folk art (1892), folk-hero (1874), folk-medicine (1877), folk-tale/folk tale (1850; Old English folctalu meant “genealogy”), folk-song (1847), folk singer (1876), folk-dance (1877).

Traditional stories and legends, transmitted orally (rather than in writing) from generation to generation. The stories of Paul Bunyan are examples of American folklore.


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