etymology

Since you're reading this, then you probably have some interest in etymology, because it's the study of the history and derivations of words.

What genealogy is to a family, etymology is to words. A genealogist studies the history of a family. A person who studies etymology does the same thing with words. Etymology looks at the roots of words — for example, whether they started out as Latin, Greek, or as some other language — and how they took on their current meaning. When you learn that the -logy part of etymology almost always means "the study of," that is, in itself, etymology.

Definitions of etymology
  1. noun
    a history of a word
    see moresee less
    types:
    folk etymology
    a popular but erroneous etymology
    type of:
    account, chronicle, history, story
    a record or narrative description of past events
  2. noun
    the study of the sources and development of words
    see moresee less
    types:
    lexicostatistics
    a statistical technique used in glottochronology; used to estimate how long ago different languages evolved from a common source language
    type of:
    linguistics
    the scientific study of language
Commonly confused words

entomology / etymology

Don’t bug out! Entomology is the study of insects, but etymology is the study of words. They sound similar and both end in -logy, which means “the study of,” but don’t mix them up unless you like completely confusing people.

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