The name of the Bosphorus, the strategically important strait connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, is the product of a misspelling! In the original Ancient Greek, it was Bosporos without an f sound, but when it got borrowed into Medieval Latin, it seems like the p was mistakenly believed to be aspirated, and since aspirated p's were written and pronounced as ph, that's how it got transcribed. It gets even more interesting: in Ancient Greek, the name meant "cow passage", because in Greek mythology there was a woman named Io who got turned into a cow and stung by flies until she crossed that strait. Eventually, bosporus sort of became a general word for "strait" in Ancient Greek; it was notably also used for the name of the waterway connecting the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.