The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has been in the news lately for kidnapping girls in Nigeria and then threatening to sell them as slaves (link).
The usual explanation of the group's name is that it means "western education is a sin", and many might assume that "boko" is from the English word "book". That folk etymology is wrong, but it didn't keep Wikipedia from misleading about their name for years.
From the CS Monitor (link):
I wondered if it was an acronym, or a mash-up of two other words. So I started looking around and struck gold with a paper by Paul Newman, professor emeritus in linguistics at Indiana University and one of the world's leading authorities on the Hausa language.
It turns out the Hausa language doesn't have a four-letter word that means "Western education." It isn't a mash-up or an acronym. What it has is a word that came to be applied to a century-old British colonial education policy that many Hausa-speakers saw as an attempt, more-or-less, to colonize their minds.
First, some information needs to be dispensed with. The word is often described as being borrowed from the English word "book." Not so, as Dr. Newman's work makes clear.
Starting in 2009, Wikipedia's article on the Hausa "Boko alphabet" incorrectly asserted that the word derived from "book." It was corrected two days ago, when someone noticed Newman's article. Wikipedia's entry on Boko Haram likewise carried the falsehood for at least a year and a half until it was partially corrected at the end of last month, though allowing a falsehood to persist on equal footing with the truth: "The term "Boko Haram" comes from the Hausa word boko figuratively meaning "western education" (often said to be literally "alphabet", from English "book", but the Hausa expert Paul Newman says it derives from a Hausa word with meanings such as "fraud" as "inauthenticity".)"
Often said? A dangerous phrase. This is how we end up with lazy reporters who parrot what they read on Wikipedia or what they read in other news stories (who were often, in turn, parroting from Wikipedia or other reporters.)