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Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary.jpg
Screenshot of etymonline.com
Type Private
Founded Online (c.2000)
Headquarters Lancaster, PA, USA
Key people
Employees 1
Website www.etymonline.com
Type of site Etymological dictionary
Registration no
Available in English
Current status active

The Online Etymology Dictionary is a free online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words.[1] Its initials are the same as those of the widely cited Oxford English Dictionary.


Douglas Harper compiled the etymology dictionary to record the history and evolution of more than 30,000 words, including slang and technical terms.[2] The core body of its etymology information stems from the New English Dictionary on Historical Principles but a variety of other sources are used. Other sources include the Middle English Dictionary and the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (by Robert Barnhart and others). In producing his large dictionary, Douglas Harper says that he is essentially and for the most part a compiler, an evaluator of etymology reports which others have made.[3]

Reviews and reputation[edit]

The Online Etymology Dictionary has been referenced by Ohio University's Library as a relevant etymological resource[1] and cited in the Chicago Tribune as one of the "best resources for finding just the right word".[4] It is cited in numerous articles as a source for explaining the history and evolution of words.[5][6][7]


  1. ^ a b "Online Etymology Dictionary". Ohio University. 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Home Page". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  3. ^ The dictionary's principal sources appear at Sources @ Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. ^ Bierma, Nathan (3 January 2007). "Internet has best resources for finding just the right word". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-05. [dead link]
  5. ^ Rudeen, Mike. Any questions?; Ask! away on the News' new blog. Rocky Mountain News, 18 December 2006, republished by www.factiva.com, accessed 2007-01-05
  6. ^ Murali, D. Big results require big ambitions. Business Line (The Hindu), 21 July 2006, Section:Opinion, republished by Factiva.com, accessed 2007-01-05
  7. ^ Whyte, Ellen. Online resources to help improve your vocabulary. New Straits Times, 27 October 2005, republished by www.factiva.com, accessed 2007-01-05

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Etymology_Dictionary — Please support Wikipedia.
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16 news items

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Ellipses are seen as sections (slices) of cones, and they got their name, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, “because the conic section of the cutting plane makes a smaller angle with the base than does the side of the cone, hence, a ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

Trivial, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, is from the Latin trivialis: “common, commonplace, or vulgar.” The adjective comes from trivium, a “place where three roads meet,” or public square. Test your knowledge Test your grammar 'smarts ...

Denton Record Chronicle

Denton Record Chronicle
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:29:52 -0700

Our Denton City Council members are not paid for their service on council. They are volunteers. The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word volunteer was first used circa 1600 as “one who offers himself for military service.” The word is derived from ...
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Lyall described how a fad arose among college students in Victorian England “to add the infantilizing 'er' diminutive to random words,” and, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, they also enjoyed shortening names. So they abbreviated “Assoc ...
Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 02:56:15 -0700

The Online Etymology Dictionary reports that there were other formations from awk, none of them surviving: awky, awkly, and awkness. Given the enduring human capacity for dumb mistakes, I should think we could still be getting some use out of these ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 22:11:53 -0700

The phrase literally means “in fresh [air]” and was used as far back as 1753 to describe eating outdoors, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. The term is still commonly used that way in Italy, said Francine Segan, a New York-based food ...
Washington City Paper
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:02:50 -0700

Not that Bagley isn't learning the politician's style; he's taken to using the verb “incent,” which the Online Etymology Dictionary describes as “U.S. government-speak.” Bagley is big on the phrase “sustainable industry” but light on the details of how ...
Pacific Standard
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:04:53 -0700

The word itself likely descended from the Old North French walet, a roll or a knapsack, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. The 20th-century historian Lawrence C. Wroth describes a 16th-century Elizabethan merchant as carrying a “bowgett” or ...

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