Scrolling through social media recently, you may have come across the viral claim that the word “homework” spelled backward translates to “child abuse” in Latin. This claim has been everywhere lately, racking up thousands of views across Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.
But is “krowemoh” really a Latin word, or just a random jumble of letters? Here’s how we fact-checked it.
Practice click restraint
Taking a closer look at the claim on YouTube. The video is a screen recording of the YouTuber doing a keyword search and clicking on the very first result from Urban Dictionary. Automatically clicking on the first result is not really a great technique for vetting information. Instead, practice a media literacy skill from the Stanford History Education Group called click restraint. This is a web-browsing tactic that involves scanning search results for better sources before deciding which website to visit. Spending a couple of extra seconds looking for credible sources is always worth it in the end.
Head directly to the source of information
Heading over to Urban Dictionary, there are several definitions for “krowemoh.” The top definition was written by someone with the username Sherli Damelio and was posted on Jan. 6. And here lies the issue with Urban Dictionary as a source — anyone on the internet can submit a definition.
For those who aren’t familiar with Urban Dictionary, it’s a sort of rebellious younger sibling to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It’s key differences? Instead of professional editors defining the words, Urban Dictionary is fully crowdsourced. The website is also mostly for defining slang words and phrases. So is it a credible source when it comes to Latin? No.
See what other sources are saying
Doing a keyword search on Google brought up several articles debunking this claim, including a fact-check from Snopes. According to Snopes, “krowemoh” is definitely not a Latin word, since the letter W doesn’t exist in the Latin language.
Other ways to fact-check this claim would be to simply find an online Latin dictionary or use the Google Translate tool. The Latin dictionary brought up no results for “krowemoh.” And when consulting Google Translate, the Latin phrase for child abuse is completely different.
Not Legit. There is no truth to the claim that homework spelled backwards translates to “child abuse” in Latin.