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Online Etymology Dictionary
Online Etymology Dictionary.jpg
Screenshot of etymonline.com
Type Private
Founded Online (c.2000)
Headquarters Lancaster, PA, US
Key people
Employees 1
Website www.etymonline.com
Alexa rank positive decrease 21,451 (May 2015)[1]
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.[2]


Douglas Harper (aka "The Sciolist") compiled the etymology dictionary to record the history and evolution of more than 30,000 words, including slang and technical terms.[3] The core body of its etymology information stems from Weekley's "An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English". 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.[4]

Reviews and reputation[edit]

The Online Etymology Dictionary has been referenced by Ohio University's Library as a relevant etymological resource[2] and cited in the Chicago Tribune as one of the "best resources for finding just the right word".[5] It is cited in numerous articles as a source for explaining the history and evolution of words.[6][7][8]


  1. ^ "Alexa Ranking". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Online Etymology Dictionary". Ohio University. 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  3. ^ "Home Page". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-12-31. 
  4. ^ The dictionary's principal sources appear at Sources @ Online Etymology Dictionary.
  5. ^ Bierma, Nathan (3 January 2007). "Internet has best resources for finding just the right word". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-05. [dead link]
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ Murali, D. Big results require big ambitions. Business Line (The Hindu), 21 July 2006, Section:Opinion, republished by Factiva.com, accessed 2007-01-05
  8. ^ 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.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

296 news items

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:56:15 -0700

The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that minion was “used 16c.-17c. without disparaging overtones.” It's gone downhill since. Macmillan, for instance, defines minion as “an unimportant person who has to do what a more powerful person tells them to do.
Las Cruces Sun-News
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:30:00 -0700

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, gay as a synonym for homosexual has been around since the 1940s. I wonder if Harbison thinks that the word "gay" is somehow less pejorative than "homosexual," and therefore is less desirable? Harbison ...

Palo Alto Online (blog)

Palo Alto Online (blog)
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:30:17 -0700

Mindset started out as educational jargon started in 1920 according to the "Online Etymology Dictionary." It is defined as, "habits of mind formed by previous experience." It's use has since spread like locusts to psychology and game theory. Mindset is ...

The Sun Chronicle

The Sun Chronicle
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 22:03:45 -0700

The Online Etymology Dictionary informs that heroism is from the French, meaning "a man of superhuman strength or physical courage," a definition expanded over time to "a man who exhibits great bravery" especially one who had done service to mankind.

The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 04:37:30 -0700

This might also come from the notion of invisibility, in this case the racist misconception that dark skin is "difficult to see at night," says the Online Etymology Dictionary. During World War II, African American Tuskegee airmen called themselves ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 03:02:28 -0700

The Online Etymology Dictionary adds this: “A Hebrew word for it is galuth, 'exile.' ” That's not the Hebrew word Englished as diaspora in the Oxford dictionary quote above, by the way. But it's interesting to think there are two words, one from Greek ...
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Mon, 06 Jul 2015 01:03:45 -0700

FAIRBANKS — “It's the little details that are vital,” according to legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who added, “Little things make big things happen.” Take the words “a” and “an.” The Online Etymology Dictionary notes sometimes words ...

University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:04:34 -0700

Similar to the definition for marijuana in Western culture at the time, “ganjha” referred to a “powerful preparation of cannabis sativa,” according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. The movement toward coining ganja reflects the 1856 British tax on ...

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