The Cupertino Effect is that phenomenon when a spell-checker mistakenly replaces a correct word that's not in its dictionary with a different word. The name for the phrase stems from a weird quirk in old spellcheckers that didn't recognize the unhyphenated version of the word co-operation. Whenever people typed cooperation, instead of "correcting" it to co-operation, the machines changed it to Cupertino, causing a lot of funny mistakes in diplomatic papers - according to the Oxford University Press, there are dozens of documents from the UN, NATO, and other international organizations accidentally using the word Cupertino. Similar to this is the so-called Scunthorpe problem, which is when normal words are blocked by obscenity filters (this is named after the English town of Scunthorpe, which has been censored from the Internet multiple times because of the expletive contained in its name).
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior 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.