from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. 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.
- n. The branch of linguistics that deals with etymologies.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words.
- n. An account of the origin and historical development of a word.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. That branch of philological science which treats of the history of words, tracing out their origin, primitive significance, and changes of form and meaning.
- n. That part of grammar which relates to the changes in the form of the words in a language; inflection.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. That part of philology which treats of the history of words in respect both to form and to meanings, tracing them back toward their origin, and setting forth and explaining the changes they have undergone.
- n. Specifically The particular history of a word, including an account of its various forms and senses.
- n. In grammar, that division of grammar which treats of the parts of speech and their inflections.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the study of the sources and development of words
- n. a history of a word
There seems little room for doubt: the acronym etymology is not valid.
A folk etymology is one that is widely believed but which is unfounded linguistically, though often it ‘seems’ right.
Knowledge of etymology is completely unnecessary for using a language.
Since etymology is destiny, and right there in its original form 1000 years ago is twain, prescriptivists argue that between is illogical when more than two things are being discussed.
First, despite what Wittgenstein said, etymology is not destiny*.
The word's etymology is traced to the late 19th Century, "perhaps from French esquiver, ` dodge, slink away. '"
Its etymology is interesting in this context, as the word – inevitably (?) – points toward the very value of words, aligns a trajectory to Logos.
Its etymology is connected to the verb stem * - dàŋg, "to shine brightly."
Its etymology is suggestive of interactions among one or both groups with an Eastern Sahelian speech community who used either * wèr or * wèd to name a type of "mud."
Ultimately, because the basic elements of Leibniz's thought (symbolic logic and metaphysics) betray the influence of his early thinking about artificial languages and his lifelong interest in etymology, one should emphasize that Leibniz's formulation of ontological substance (monads) and his understanding of logical procedures reflect, essentially, a conception of linguistic being.
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