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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 of), from λόγος (lógos, word; explanation).



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etymology (countable and uncountable, plural etymologies)

  1. (uncountable, linguistics) The study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words.
  2. (countable) The origin and historical development of a word; the derivation.
    • 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.
    Although written the same, the words lead (the metal) and lead (the verb) have totally different etymologies.
  3. (countable) An account of the origin and historical development of a word as presented in a dictionary or the like.
  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