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Etymology

Etymology: noun. plural et·y·mol·o·gies.
1 : the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language 2 : a branch of linguistics concerned with etymologies
— et·y·mo·log·i·cal -mə-ˈlä-ji-kəl\ adjective
— et·y·mo·log·i·cal·ly -k(ə-)lē\ adverb

I found this concept in Barzun Chapter 1, pg. 51. "If in doubt about the differences among words that are not in everyday use, recourse to etymology will help."

The learning and use of academic English words by Corson, David
It is available through the library or by searching the EBSCO Host directly.

http://web.ebscohost.com.floyd.lib.umn.edu/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=108&sid=e49eee3c-470d-4195-b498-1438ef35912b%40sessionmgr109

Comments

That's a great one to start with :)

Not to be confused with entymology, which is the study of insects.