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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 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.

335 news items

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Mon, 23 Nov 2015 01:56:15 -0800

The origin of the word “pun” is unknown, and the Online Etymology Dictionary says it might be “from 'pundigron,' which is perhaps a humorous alteration of Italian 'puntiglio: equivocation, trivial objection' … this is pure speculation.” Regardless ...

Christian Science Monitor

Christian Science Monitor
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 02:52:30 -0800

The Online Etymology Dictionary quotes Popular Science in 1946: “Drones, as the radio-controlled craft are called, have many potentialities, civilian and military. Some day huge mother ships may guide fleets of long-distance, cargo-carrying airplanes ...


Wed, 18 Nov 2015 03:00:32 -0800

The most reasonable explanation, however, is Online Etymology Dictionary's oddly sweet theory that “dildo” is a “corruption of Italian deletto 'delight,' from Latin dilectio, noun of action from diligere 'to esteem highly, to love.'” Aww. As Valerie ...

Times LIVE

Times LIVE
Sat, 31 Oct 2015 15:07:30 -0700

... to be "geek", because although the Greek arithmos did indeed mean "number", Mathboy's linking it to "reckon" does not add up. "Reckon" comes from Germanic roots meaning "to move in a straight line". This I learned from the Online Etymology ...

The Atlantic

The Atlantic
Fri, 22 May 2015 05:36:35 -0700

The phrase “shit hits the fan” has uncertain origins. Some claim it's a descendant of a World War II adage “the garbage hit the fan.” As the Online Etymology Dictionary has it, it derives from an old poop joke. The Yale Book of Quotations doesn't have ...

The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 06:44:10 -0700

Why john? There's some speculation that john comes from Sir John Harington, who designed a flush toilet for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth, although the Online Etymology Dictionary says john is simply an alteration of another toilet term, jakes. Why jakes?

Honi Soit

Honi Soit
Mon, 10 Aug 2015 16:15:00 -0700

And some sponsor a word in the Online Etymology Dictionary. For $10 you can sponsor a word for six months, and if you follow the link at the bottom right of the homepage, you can read their dedications. Although not all words are exclusively sponsored ...


Tue, 15 Sep 2015 10:56:00 -0700

The Online Etymology Dictionary researched the term – and the tomato's circuitous path. The plant and its name originate from Aztec, meaning "the swelling fruit." The current spelling might have been influenced by the word potato, according to Online ...

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