Archive for February 12, 2019

Mumps and Mumpsimusses

Posted in Education, Maynooth with tags , , , , on February 12, 2019 by telescoper

I noticed that there has been an outbreak of mumps among students in the Dublin area (including a case in Maynooth). I had mumps when I was a kid and I can tell you it was no fun at all. I had thought mumps had been virtually eradicated by vaccination; the MMR vaccine was brought into use in the UK in 1988, and I had mumps long before that. I suppose one can lay the blame for the current outbreak at the door of the anti-vaxxers.

That brings me to one of my favourite words – yet another that I found out while doing a crossword – mumpsimus. Here is (part of) the OED entry:

Wikipedia gives “traditional custom obstinately adhered to however unreasonable it may be”, which is in the OED further down the page.

It seems to me that belief in idea that one’s children should not be protected against mumps is a mumpsimus, and people who cling to that belief are mumpsimusses.