Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[et-uh-mol-uh-jee] /ˌɛt əˈmɒl ə dʒi/
noun, plural etymologies.
the derivation of a word.
a chronological account of the birth and development of a particular word or element of a word, often delineating its spread from one language to another and its evolving changes in form and meaning.
the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.
Origin of etymology
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin etymologia < Greek etymología, equivalent to etymológ(os) studying the true meanings and values of words (étymo(s) true (see etymon) + lógos word, reason) + -ia -y3
Related forms
[et-uh-muh-loj-i-kuh l] /ˌɛt ə məˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
etymologic, adjective
etymologically, adverb
etymologist, noun
pseudoetymological, adjective
pseudoetymologically, adverb
subetymology, noun, plural subetymologies.
unetymologic, adjective
unetymological, adjective
unetymologically, adverb
Can be confused
entomology, etymology. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for etymology
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If this etymology be accepted, we have here the use of the word gate as a way.

    The Story of London Henry B. Wheatley
  • Cat language has been reduced to etymology in several tongues.

    Concerning Cats Helen M. Winslow
  • So all the French philologists agree; and the modern variance of aux armes does not invalidate so plain an etymology.

  • The etymology of the euphonious word "Lobskous" I am unable to give.

    War from the Inside Frederick L. (Frederick Lyman) Hitchcock
  • I have given this etymology in order to throw a light on our language, and show how our citizens have finished by acquiring names.

    Droll Stories, Complete Honore de Balzac
  • Criticism, as its etymology indicates, is the act of judging.

  • Such is the meaning of the word, but I would not like to vouch for the etymology.

    Northern Spain Edgar T. A. Wigram
British Dictionary definitions for etymology


noun (pl) -gies
the study of the sources and development of words and morphemes
an account of the source and development of a word or morpheme
Derived Forms
etymological (ˌɛtɪməˈlɒdʒɪkəl) adjective
etymologically, adverb
etymologist, noun
Word Origin
C14: via Latin from Greek etumologia; see etymon, -logy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for etymology

late 14c., ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from Old French et(h)imologie (14c., Modern French étymologie), from Latin etymologia, from Greek etymologia, properly "study of the true sense (of a word)," from etymon "true sense" (neuter of etymos "true, real, actual," related to eteos "true") + -logia "study of, a speaking of" (see -logy).

In classical times, of meanings; later, of histories. Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium. As a branch of linguistic science, from 1640s. Related: Etymological; etymologically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for etymology

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for etymology

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for etymology