etymology

[et-uh-mol-uh-jee]

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.

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 formset·y·mo·log·i·cal [et-uh-muh-loj-i-kuh l] /ˌɛt ə məˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, et·y·mo·log·ic, adjectiveet·y·mo·log·i·cal·ly, adverbet·y·mol·o·gist, nounpseu·do·et·y·mo·log·i·cal, adjectivepseu·do·et·y·mo·log·i·cal·ly, adverbsub·et·y·mol·o·gy, noun, plural sub·et·y·mol·o·gies.un·et·y·mo·log·ic, adjectiveun·et·y·mo·log·i·cal, adjectiveun·et·y·mo·log·i·cal·ly, adverb
Can be confusedentomology etymology
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for etymology

Contemporary Examples of etymology

Historical Examples of etymology

  • The first class contains the forms connected, partially in their etymology and wholly in their syntax, with my and thy, &c.

    The English Language

    Robert Gordon Latham

  • As applied to men, Skeat thinks it meant good or worthy at stealing; but the etymology is still unsettled.

  • The etymology of this hammercloth, which was simply a covering over the coach-box, seems to have puzzled people considerably.

  • It may be well, however, to look into the etymology of the two words we are considering.

    Play-Making

    William Archer

  • Let us try the test of an expression somewhat kindred in etymology: such a word as would carry upon its face a damning solecism.



British Dictionary definitions for etymology

etymology

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 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