noun, plural et·y·mol·o·gies.
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Origin of etymology
historical usage of etymology
Ancient and medieval etymologies are mostly conjectures, puns, or folk etymologies, and are generally wildly incorrect. Cicero, for instance, gives the etymology of Venus (stem Vener- ), the goddess of love, as a derivation of the verb venīre “to come” because love and desire come to all. The most famous etymological howler in Latin is Lūcus a nōn lūcendō “Grove from there being no light,” a pun on lūcus “a clearing, grove” and lūcēre “to shine.” Lūcus a nōn lūcendō first appears in a commentary on the Aeneid by Maurus Servius Honoratus, a grammarian of the late 4th and early 5th centuries.
Common English folk etymologies include cockroach for Spanish cucaracha and chaise lounge for the correct chaise longue. In the case of cockroach, you have the unfamiliar Spanish sounds assimilating with two near-sounding English words, cock and roach. The longue in chaise longue means “long,” but to English readers, looks very close in spelling to lounge, which is a logical use for a chair that is made for reclining on.
Etymology in the sense “the linguistic science that investigates the origins of a word, its relationships with words in other languages, and its historical development in form and meaning” dates from the 1640s.
OTHER WORDS FROM etymology
WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH etymologyentomology, etymology
Example sentences from the Web for etymology
The agents live on now, both chemically and etymologically, in drugs such as bendamustine that are used to treat several cancers.Sarin, Nitrogen Mustard, Cyanide & More: All About Chemical Weapons|Kent Sepkowitz|August 26, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Etymologically the words seem akin, cense being a tax or toll (cess), and tensare meaning to lay under toll or tribute.The Influence and Development of English Gilds|Francis Aiden Hibbert
Etymologically, then, the word anarchy may have several meanings.Anarchism|Paul Eltzbacher
Etymologically it signifies a wanderer; and such is the meaning attached to the term in the following pages.The Vagabond in Literature|Arthur Rickett