Etymology meaning

ĕtə-mŏlə-jē
Frequency:
The branch of linguistics dealing with word origin and development.
noun
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The study of the origin of words. Etymology is not to be confused with entomology, the branch of zoology concerned with the study of insects. See also bug.
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The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.
noun
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(countable) An account of the origin and historical development of a word.
noun
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(uncountable) The study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words.
noun
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The definition of etymology is the source of a word, or the study of the source of specific words.

An example of etymology is tracing a word back to its Latin roots.

noun
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The origin and historical development of a linguistic form as shown by determining its basic elements, earliest known use, and changes in form and meaning, tracing its transmission from one language to another, identifying its cognates in other languages, and reconstructing its ancestral form where possible.
noun
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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 and to its source in contemporary or earlier languages.
noun
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For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
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hyponyms
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Origin of etymology

  • Middle English etimologie from Old French ethimologie from Medieval Latin ethimologia from Latin etymologia from Greek etumologiā etumon true sense of a word etymon -logiā -logy

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English etimologie, from Old French ethimologie, from Latin etymologia, from Ancient Greek ἐτυμολογία (etumologia), from ἔτυμον (etumon, “true sense”) and -λογία (-logia, “study of”) (from λόγος (logos)).

    From Wiktionary