from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An earlier form of a word in the same language or in an ancestor language. For example, Indo-European *duwo and Old English twā are etymons of Modern English two.
  • n. A word or morpheme from which compounds and derivatives are formed.
  • n. A foreign word from which a particular loan word is derived. For example, Latin duo, "two,” is an etymon of English duodecimal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A source word of a given word.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An original form; primitive word; root.
  • n. Original or fundamental signification.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The original element of a word; the root or primitive.
  • n. The original or fundamental sense; the primary or root meaning.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a simple form inferred as the common basis from which related words in several languages can be derived by linguistic processes


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin, from Greek etumon, true sense of a word, from neuter of etumos, true.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek ἔτυμον (etumon, "the true sense of a word according to its origin"), from ἔτυμος (etumos, "true, real, actual").


  • But then, instead of calling the etymon "Hindi-Urdu cakor" or "Hindustani cakor," they invented a completely spurious distinction between what look to the untutored eye like two different preforms, apparently because their transcription system for Hindi uses c for the unaspirated \ch\ (presumably using ch for the aspirated consonant), whereas the one for Urdu uses ch for the same phoneme (and presumably chh for the aspirated one). CHUKAR.

  • I think maybe the key here is that while people will go in with degree's in relevant stubjects, others, such as etymon maybe, will go in with just the poor and simple smarts!!

    New Media Medicine

  • This Minoan etymon is my attempt at better explaining (via expected Etruscan *caupaθ) the source of both Germanic *haubida- and Latin caput in a way that an over-cited Indo-European root (*)*kaput- just can't convincingly accomplish without fiddling with the phonetics.

    Archive 2010-07-01

  • In fact, I'm starting to get the strong notion that the real reason why some Indoeuropeanists like Julius Pokorny had included Sanskrit kapr̥t- 'penis' into his cognate series under the 'goat' etymon was just to make it look less like a substratal loanword restricted to Western Europe and more like a fully attested IE root in order to fill out his 1959 book Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.

    Archive 2010-09-01

  • However, if we follow instead Hesychius' testimony, the irregular Celtic reflexes can be perfectly explained through borrowing from the implied Etruscan etymon *capra with its unaspirated k-.

    Manly goats

  • The blogauthor of Bradshaw of the Future noted that the American Heritage Dictionary combined 'to die' and 'to rub away' into a single etymon, something that makes perfect sense to me because it would suggest that 'to wear away' is the original sense from which 'to die' is to be derived through metaphor.

    Rubbing away the shine (1)

  • Notice, reader, how Proto-Japanese *mi 'three' is claimed to come from *ñi and that the attachment of *[ñ] to the Proto-Manchu-Tungus etymon is unexplained and ad hoc, together with the fact that a change of [ɲ] to [m] neighbouring a front high vowel is absurd and completely unmotivated from the perspective of rational notions of phonology.

    How to make a mockery of Proto-Japanese

  • This has got me thinking hard and long because while there appears to be a relationship between the above words, finding a common etymon behind them all is tricky.

    A Minoan word for red dye

  • Her name appears to have been carelessly confused with that of a separate etymon however, an Etrurian city which the Etruscans called Aritim and which in Latin is called Arretium.

    Archive 2009-12-01

  • First, let's get nonsense out of the way by letting a published author state the obvious about origins of the Proto-Germanic etymon *handuz 'hand' that are most implausible yet unfortunately popular among idle hobbyists online.

    Searching for an etymology for Germanic *handuz 'hand'


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