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the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history

Etymology of “Etymology”

from Greek ἔτυμος true, + λόγος, meaning - the science of the true, or original, meaning of words.


  • anomaly: from Greek ἀ, negative, + ὁμαλός, level - a construction which does not conform to the rule.
  • archaism: from Greek ἀρχαῖος, old - an expression belonging to an ancient form of any language
  • diphthong from Greek δι, twice + φθόγγος, sound - two vowel sounds produced as one, e.g. ‘Caesar’
  • euphony from Greek εὖ, well, + φονή, sound - that which sounds well.
  • idiom from Greek ἴδιος, private, peculiar - a mode of expression peculiar to a language.
  • pandemonium from Greek πᾶν all, + δαιμόνιον demon - all the demons. Coined by John Milton in Paradise Lost describing the full assembly of the demons in hell, which was characterized by wild and noisy disorder
  • parenthesis from Greek παρά, beside + ἔνθεσις, insertion - a word or phrase inserted in another phrase yet not grammatically connected with it.
  • synecdoche from Greek σύν, with + ἐκδόχη, from verb ἐκδέχομαι, to take from another - taking one thing together with another, hence a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa