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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 25,468 (October 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 27 October 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.

1941 news items

Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 22:09:42 -0800

Spelled “whisky” it refers to Scotch; whiskey refers to Irish, Canadian, rye and bourbon. Either way it's spelled it derives from “uisce beatha,” which means water of life in Gaelic, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Younger folks are also ...


Thu, 04 Feb 2016 12:33:43 -0800

“Conniption,” according to the Oxford Online Etymology Dictionary is a piece of American English that came into common use around 1830. Its origins are uncertain, but it might be related to the word “corruption,” which once was used in the sense of “anger.

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 02:52:30 -0800

The Online Etymology Dictionary notes that battery came into English in the 1530s meaning the “action of battering.” The dictionary continues: “Meaning shifted in Middle French from 'bombardment' ('heavy blows' upon city walls or fortresses) to 'unit ...


Sun, 31 Jan 2016 13:33:45 -0800

The first known use of "caucus" appeared in 1763, according to Online Etymology Dictionary, and it originated in New England. It is thought that "caucus" emerged from the Algonquian word "caucauasu," which means counselor, elder, or adviser. Although ...


Sun, 17 Jan 2016 00:01:03 -0800

When my American editor asked me to research why Brits spell their words with so many extra 'u's, I immediately knew he had it all wrong. As a British journalist, it's perfectly obvious to me that we have the correct number of 'u's, and that American ...

Voice of America (blog)

Voice of America (blog)
Sun, 17 Jan 2016 13:08:57 -0800

The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word “lam” means “flight” or “to run off.” It may come from the expression “on the lam,” which appeared in the late 1890s in the United States. William Safire wrote many columns about language before he died in ...

New Republic

New Republic
Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:30:00 -0800

Transliterated from the Greek word ὑδροφοβία (in the late fourteenth century, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary), hydrophobia was the only major term in English to adopt phobia (φόβος) as a suffix for hundreds of years. Hydrophobia persisted ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 02:52:30 -0800

The Online Etymology Dictionary explains amarillo as a “name given to several species of American trees, from Spanish, from Arabic anbari 'yellow, amber-colored,' from anbar, 'amber.' ” Amarillo, the city, the dictionary surmises, “may be so called ...

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