Culprit

Real-Words-That-Were-Invented-By-Accident.Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock

The Middle French phrase Culpable, prest d’averrer nostre bille—translated as “guilty, ready to prove our case”—was what the Clerk of the Crown would say in response to a defendant’s “not guilty” plea. Court records, however, often shortened the long phrase to “cul. prit.” So when push comes to shove, what started out as a lazy abbreviation eventually created the word culprit.

Ingot

Real-Words-That-Were-Invented-By-Accident.Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock

Defined as “a brick-like solid mass of metal,” an ingot was originally called “lingot” in French. But when it was translated into English, some writers removed the letter L, believing it was the French abbreviation for “the.” They were wrong, of course, but the spelling has remained that way ever since. Brush up on the 10 most-searched new “words” for 2018.

Scandinavia

Real-Words-That-Were-Invented-By-Accident.Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock

Scandinavia has not always been this country’s title. At one time, its name did not include the first N, so it read as “Scadinavia.” The Oxford English Dictionary claims that a Roman scholar mistakenly added the extra N, and the rest is history. Don’t miss more words and phrases you’re probably using all wrong.