Site of the Week: Etymology Dictionary

Some dictionaries give you the meanings of words and how they work in context including examples in use, whether they are verbs, adjectives or can be used as both. I’m sure you get the idea on how they work but I’ll bet you’ve never seen a dictionary website quite like Online Etymology Dictionary. It does not provide simple definitions, but also analyses it linguistically, discusses what they used to mean and how use has changed over time. This is a website dedicated to the study of the language, not merely a list of words.

For example I put in the word force and this came back:

c.1300, “physical strength,” from O.Fr. force (12c.) “force, strength, courage, fortitude; violence, power, compulsion,” from V.L. *fortia (cf. Sp. fuerza, It. forza), noun use of neut. pl. of L. fortis “strong” (see fort). Meaning “body of armed men, army” first recorded late 14c. (also in O.Fr.). Physics sense is from 1660s; force field attested by 1920. The verb is first attested c.1300, from O.Fr. forcier “conquer by violence;” its earliest sense in English was “to ravish” (a woman); sense of “to compel, oblige” to do something is from c.1400. Related: Forced; forcing.

A site for real word nerds!

Note: This will be the last site of the week. I feel it has run its course having covered a wide array of free ebooks sites, reading and writing communities, web tools, competition sites, databases for selling your work, research websites, online libraries, dictionaries, encylopaedias, emagazines, short stories archives and advice sites. I feel I have discovered the best of the web and though no doubt there are thousands more like them out there, I do not want to be in danger of repetition. From hereonin, I will simply highlight websites that stand out as and when the muse takes me. Sometimes you might get several in a week, other times it may be months between each one. I hope regular readers have taken a lot from this feature and I am open to recommendations for future great websites.


2 thoughts on “Site of the Week: Etymology Dictionary

  1. Sad to see the series go, but I understand. Are you keeping a list of these posts in your web resources page?

    1. mgm75

      My personal favourites are already on there but I will probably put them all up at some point. I do have a category filter on the main page so currently viewers can see all of the “site of the week” (now category “great websites”)

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