etymology

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n etymology the study of the sources and development of words
    • n etymology a history of a word
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Saint Isidore, or Seville, who lived in the 17th century, was believed to have written the world's first encyclopedia, the Etymologies. It included entries on medicine, mathematics, history and theology.
    • Etymology That branch of philological science which treats of the history of words, tracing out their origin, primitive significance, and changes of form and meaning.
    • Etymology That part of grammar which relates to the changes in the form of the words in a language; inflection.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n etymology That part of philology which treats of the history of words in respect both to form and to meanings, tracing them back toward their origin, and setting forth and explaining the changes they have undergone.
    • n etymology Specifically The particular history of a word, including an account of its various forms and senses. In its widest sense, the etymology of a word includes all its variations of form and spelling, and all its different meanings and shades of meaning, from its first appearance in the language to the present time, and, further, the same facts concerning the original or the cognate forms of the word in other languages. This would be impracticable for any large number of words, and accordingly the fullest etymologies, as in this dictionary, give but one form or a few typical forms for a given period of a language, or but one form for the whole period of the language, with a like summary treatment of the meanings, a more complete exhibition of forms and meanings being given only at critical or important points in the history. In a very restricted but common acceptation, the word implies merely the “derivation” of the word, namely, the mention of the word or root from which it is derived, as when bishop is said to be “from Greek ἐπίσκοπος,” or chief “from Latin caput.”
    • n etymology In grammar, that division of grammar which treats of the parts of speech and their inflections.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Etymology et-i-mol′o-ji the investigation of the derivation and original signification of words: the science that treats of the origin and history of words: the part of grammar relating to inflection
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Quotations

  • Salman Rushdie
    Salman%20Rushdie
    “Names, once they are in common use, quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth's marvels, beneath the dust of habit.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L.etymologia, Gr. 'etymologi`a; 'e`tymon etymon + lo`gos discourse, description: cf. F. étymologie,. See Etymon, and -logy
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr.,—L.,—Gr. etymos, true, logia, an account.

Usage

In literature:

Bochart has an ingenious suggestion, based upon etymological grounds.
"The Metamorphoses of Ovid" by Publius Ovidius Naso
The etymology is again doubtful.
"The Evolution of the Dragon" by G. Elliot Smith
I really have so little time to give to etymology.
"Peggy Stewart at School" by Gabrielle E. Jackson
It was not phonetic, nor was it etymological; it was simply Ritsonian.
"The Book-Hunter" by John Hill Burton
The etymology of the name is uncertain.
"Pagan and Christian Rome" by Rodolfo Lanciani
On the different and doubtful etymologies of this word, see Alberti on Hesych.
"The Iliad of Homer (1873)" by Homer
Etymology in spelling, 148.
"The Booklover and His Books" by Harry Lyman Koopman
Etymology of the word, 318.
"An Account of Timbuctoo and Housa Territories in the Interior of Africa" by Abd Salam Shabeeny
Can any of your readers (among whom I trust there are many retired West India planters) give the etymology of this word?
"Notes and Queries, Number 69, February 22, 1851" by Various
These instances may possibly lead to a correct etymology of the word.
"Notes and Queries, Number 70, March 1, 1851" by Various
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In poetry:

There Etymology they found,
Who scorn'd surrounding fruits;
And ever dug in deepest ground,
For old and mouldy Roots.
"Sir Hornbook" by Thomas Love Peacock

In news:

Tubbs-and-Crockette Etymology: Specimens rock the Miami Vice look — and, remarkably, get away with it.
I took that to mean that Mr Hart believes the "literal" meaning of a word is found in the scientific or physical sense suggested by its etymology .
He started sending out the e-mails after he retired from Bucknell in 2000, and has defined and etymologized 2,500 words in his daily Good Word e-mail.
Those interested in its subject matter herein either already know the etymology behind the expression "420" or are doing something they enjoy more than sitting at a computer.
That is, he fashioned poems from flawless American English ("English" and "angels" are parties to an old pun, if not to a shared etymology) and made it look like the easiest thing in the world.
Logophiliacs ought to subscribe to it at Wordsmith.org, for Garg trots out some doozies, and each includes the meaning, etymology, assorted notes and examples of usage.
Owing to unpredictable changes in the original meanings of words down through time, few disciplines are of greater interest than etymology.
For his new work, Occupant, choreographer Jonah Bokaer is researching the etymology of the word and using it to graphically call our attention to its origins.
Many believe the object of the board game Scrabble , or " SCRABBLE (r) Brand Crossword Game," is not merely to outscore your opponents but to destroy them with your vast etymological and linguistic acumen.
While there is no definitive etymology for the word "cocktail," most scholarly tipplers agree that it likely emerged in the early 1800s.
Etymology notes on a scandal.
At least from an etymological standpoint, The New Yorker may seem to be an unimpeachable institution of writerly decorum, especially as far as their dedication to impeccably edited copy goes.
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In science:

So, we realize the clearest and most intuitive idea of nuclearity, based in the nuclear theorem, and the very etymology of “nuclear algebras”: they are algebras of nuclei or kernels that are multiplied as generalized matrices .
An Algebraic Formulation of Quantum Decoherence
The etymology of the name “M-Theory” is explained in and traced back to (M)embranes.
Basics of M-Theory
To erase, etymologically, is derived from Latin words meaning ‘to scrape out.’ Clearly this meaning is derived from times when writing was often carved in stone.
Quantum complimentarity, erasers and photons
University of Michigan) for etymological assistance. Matthew F.
Aspects of the history, anatomy, taxonomy and palaeobiology of sauropod dinosaurs
This is the etymology of the name “test ideals”.
A survey of test ideals
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