etymological /et'euh meuh loj"i keuhl/, etymologic, adj.etymologically, adv.etymologist, n.
/et'euh mol"euh jee/, n., pl. etymologies.
1. the derivation of a word.
2. an account of the history of a particular word or element of a word.
3. the study of historical linguistic change, esp. as manifested in individual words.
[1350-1400; ME < L etymologia < Gk etymología, equiv. to etymológ(os) studying the true meanings and values of words (étymo(s) true (see ETYMON) + lógos word, reason) + -ia -Y3]

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      the history of a word or word element, including its origins and derivation. Although the etymologizing of proper names appears in the Old Testament and Plato dealt with etymology in his dialogue Cratylus, lack of knowledge of other languages and of the historical developments that languages undergo prevented ancient writers from arriving at the proper etymologies of words.

 Modern scientific etymological study is based on the methods and findings of historical and comparative linguistics, the basic principles of which were established by linguists during the 19th century. The general principles involved in present-day etymology are:

      1. The earliest form of a word, or word element, must be ascertained, as well as all parallel and related forms.

      2. Every sound of a given word, or word element, must be compared with the corresponding sound in the form (often called its etymon) from which it is derived.

      3. Any deviation in the previously established phonetic correspondences for the language of which the word is a part must be plausibly and rationally explained.

      4. Any shift in meaning that has occurred in the historical transmission of the word must also be explained.

      5. Words that present nonnative sounds, or combinations of sounds, that appear isolated in the language, or that demonstrate marked deviation from the usual phonetic correspondences, are probably borrowed rather than inherited, and the language of origin must be determined.

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Universalium. 2010.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • etymology — (n.) 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 (neuter… …   Etymology dictionary

  • etymology — 1. Etymology is the study of the history and derivation of words, and an etymology is the history of a particular word. Most dictionaries of concise size and larger give detailed accounts of a word s sources, which can be from other English words …   Modern English usage

  • Etymology — Et y*mol o*gy ( j[y^]), n.; pl. {Etymologies} ( j[i^]z). [L.etymologia, Gr. etymologi a; e tymon etymon + lo gos discourse, description: cf. F. [ e]tymologie. See {Etymon}, and { logy}.] 1. That branch of philological science which treats of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • etymology — index origination Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • etymology — [n] word history derivation, development, etymon, origin, phrase history, phrase origin, root, source; concept 275 …   New thesaurus

  • etymology — ► NOUN (pl. etymologies) ▪ an account of the origins and the developments in meaning of a word. DERIVATIVES etymological adjective etymologically adverb etymologist noun. ORIGIN Greek etumologia, from etumos true …   English terms dictionary

  • etymology — [et΄ə mäl′əjē] n. pl. etymologies [ME & OFr ethimologie < L etymologia < Gr: see ETYMON & LOGY] 1. the origin and development of a word, affix, phrase, etc.; the tracing of a word or other form back as far as possible in its own language… …   English World dictionary

  • Etymology — Etymologies redirects here. For the encyclopedia, see Etymologiae. For the Elvish dictionary, see The Etymologies (Tolkien). Not to be confused with Entomology or Etiology. For help writing an etymology on Wikipedia, see Template:Etymology …   Wikipedia

  • etymology — n. 1) to ascertain, determine, trace an etymology 2) folk etymology (the professor explained the origin of a word by folk etymology) * * * determine trace an etymology to ascertain folk etymology (the professor explained the origin of a word by… …   Combinatory dictionary

  • etymology — [14] The underlying meaning of etymology is ‘finding the underlying or ‘true’ meaning of words’. Its ultimate source is Greek étumos ‘real, true’. From this was derived étumon ‘true or literal sense of a word’ (acquired by English in the 16th… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

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