noun, plural etymologies.
the derivation of a word. word origin, word source, derivation, origin.
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. word history, word lore, historical development.
the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.

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

etymological [et-uh-muh-loj-i-kuhl] , etymologic, adjective
etymologically, adverb
etymologist, noun
pseudoetymological, adjective
pseudoetymologically, adverb
subetymology, noun, plural subetymologies.
unetymologic, adjective
unetymological, adjective
unetymologically, adverb

entomology, etymology. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
etymology (ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒɪ)
n , pl -gies
1.  the study of the sources and development of words and morphemes
2.  an account of the source and development of a word or morpheme
[C14: via Latin from Greek etumologia; see etymon, -logy]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from Gk. etymologia, from etymon "true sense" (neut. of etymos "true," related to eteos "true") + logos "word." In classical times, of meanings; later, of histories. Latinized by Cicero as veriloquium. Related: Etymological; etymologically; etymologist.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the history of a word or word element, including its origins and derivation. Although the etymologizing of proper names appears in the Old Testament and Plato dealt with etymology in his dialogue Cratylus, lack of knowledge of other languages and of the historical developments that languages undergo prevented ancient writers from arriving at the proper etymologies of words

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The etymology of the word should steer you in the right direction.
Its etymology is not given in the American dictionaries.
This hodgepodge of events, facts, etymology and science reflects the author's
  curious mind and might interest others as well.
But, as a famous expert on etymology, he must have known he had used the wrong
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