etymology

[ et-uh-mol-uh-jee ]
/ ˌɛt əˈmɒl ə dʒi /

noun, plural et·y·mol·o·gies.

the derivation of a word.
a chronological account of the birth and development of a particular word or element of a word, often delineating its spread from one language to another and its evolving changes in form and meaning.
the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.

Nearby words

  1. etym.,
  2. etymological,
  3. etymologicon,
  4. etymologist,
  5. etymologize,
  6. etymon,
  7. etzel,
  8. eu,
  9. eu-,
  10. eubacteria

Origin of etymology

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin etymologia < Greek etymología, equivalent to etymológ(os) studying the true meanings and values of words (étymo(s) true (see etymon) + lógos word, reason) + -ia -y3

Related forms
Can be confusedentomology etymology

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for etymological


British Dictionary definitions for etymological

etymology

/ (ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒɪ) /

noun plural -gies

the study of the sources and development of words and morphemes
an account of the source and development of a word or morpheme
Derived Formsetymological (ˌɛtɪməˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjectiveetymologically, adverbetymologist, noun

Word Origin for etymology

C14: via Latin from Greek etumologia; see etymon, -logy

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for etymological

etymology

n.

late 14c., ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from Old French et(h)imologie (14c., Modern French étymologie), from Latin etymologia, from Greek etymologia, properly "study of the true sense (of a word)," from etymon "true sense" (neuter 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper