noun (used with a singular verb)
the study of changes in a language or group of languages over a period of time.
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Also called diachronic linguistics.
Origin of historical linguistics
First recorded in 1920–25
Words nearby historical linguistics
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for historical linguistics
(functioning as singular) the study of language as it changes in the course of time, with a view either to discovering general principles of linguistic change or to establishing the correct genealogical classification of particular languagesAlso called: diachronic linguistics Compare descriptive linguistics
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