“Mr. Howe.” Letter to the editor. Painesville Telegraph (Painesville, Ohio) (1 March 1831).
Mr. Howe—We hear much these days about the Mormonites, the Mormon Bible, the Book of Mormon, and people are very desirous to know what Mormon signifies. In answering their enquiries, I would refer them to Bailey’s Dictionary, where they will find that the word Mormon comes from the Greek word mormoo, and by that author is said to signify, “bugbear, hobgoblin, raw head, and bloody bones.”
[The above has been furnished us by a correspondent in the country, for which he is entitled to some credit for the discovery. Bailey’s Dictionary is an English work of quite ancient date, and but a very few copies are now extant, and those printed in London, some fifty or sixty years ago. We have, however, seen a copy, and find the above definition correctly stated, as given by that author. It seems, therefore, that the writer of the new bible, intentionally or otherwise, gave the book not only an appropriate, but a classical name. This was no doubt done for the purpose of carrying out his experiment on human credulity to the greatest extent—even to give the book a name, in addition to its contents, which would carry on the very face of it the nature of its true character—a fiction of hobgoblins and bugbears.