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For etymology on Wiktionary, see Wiktionary:Etymology.



From Middle English ethymologie, from Old French ethimologie, from Latin etymologia, from Ancient Greek ἐτυμολογία (etumología), from ἔτυμον (étumon, true sense) and -λογία (-logía, study or logic of), from λόγος (lógos, word; explanation).



English Wikipedia has an article on:

etymology (countable and uncountable, plural etymologies)

  1. (uncountable, linguistics) The scientific study of the origin and evolution of a word's semantic meaning across time, including its constituent morphemes and phonemes.
  2. (countable) The entire catalogue of meanings that a word, morpheme, or sign has carried throughout its history; lit. the logic of the etymon.
    Although written the same, the words lead (the metal) and lead (the verb) have totally different etymologies.
    • 2018, James Lambert, “A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity”, in English World-Wide[1], page 13:
      The etymology of the term Japlish is disputed and contentiously so.
  3. (countable) An account of the origin and historical development of a word as presented in a dictionary or the like.
    • 2023 July 2, Talia Felix, “Homing in on Harlequin”, in Online Etymology Dictionary[2]:
      Where did this name Harlequin (or Arlechin) come from? Most etymologies for the name give the Hellequin theory.
  4. (countable) The direct origin of a name, as in who someone was named after.
    • 1996, The Rock:
      I'm sure you know the etymology of your name, Goodspeed.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Not to be confused with entomology (the study of insects) or etiology (the study of causes or origins).
  • Not to be confused with the origin of the object or person the word refers to.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Similarly named but unrelated fields