Etymology is the study of a word's meaning in history. If you are not a scientist trying to find the origin of a word and the changes it went through throughout history, you are probably most interested in the original meaning of a word. This can be interesting from two perspectives. You first may want to find out more about a word and its origins that you know little about. It can also be interesting if you are reading texts written in old English or other earlier forms of a language.
The Online Etymology Dictionary is available for free on the Internet. You can enter a word, or part of a word, a suffix for instance, that you are interested in in the form on the frontpage or start your search with a click on one of the letters of the alphabet.
If you'd enter Etymology for instance you get the following information:
late 14c., ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from O.Fr. et(h)imologie (14c., Mod.Fr. étymologie), from L. etymologia, from Gk. etymologia, properly "study of the true sense (of a word)," from etymon "true sense" (neut. of etymos "true, real, actual," related to eteos "true") + -logia "study of, a speaking of" (see -logy). In classical times, of meanings; later, of histories. Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium. As a branch of linguistic science, from 1640s. Related: Etymological; etymologically.
Information usually consists of one or multiple sentences. The related information are unfortunately not displayed as links, which means that you have to manually copy and paste them to perform a search on them.
One of the things that I like to do is to look up suffixes and prefixes, as they can help you get an understanding of a word even if you do know know what it means exactly. The suffix -itis for instance denotes diseases characterized by inflammation.
The etymology dictionary makes a handy bookmark for users who like to look-up word meanings and a word's history. Just head over to the site and start searching, and maybe share a word you discovered with the rest of us.Advertisement
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