Word Origins

The Ask a Question section of the site tries to avoid answering questions about word origins because the experts who do so require vast resources and time. Please search and enjoy the expert sites below for well-documented, complete, and often amusing etymologies (origins of words).

Etymologically Speaking (Morgan)

Verbivore (Richard Lederer)

Wilton's Word and Phrase Origins (Dave Wilton)

The Word Detective (Evan Morris)

World Wide Words (Michael Quinion)

Information about word origins may be obtained from the following books. You may order these books from your favorite bookseller.

Family Word Finder. Reader's Digest. (ISBN 978-0-8956-6023-3)

Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins. William and Mary Morris. (ISBN 978-1-5948-6286-1)

Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. Eric Partridge. (ISBN 978-0-5174-1425-5)

The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Edited by C.T. Onions. (ISBN 978-0-1986-1112-7)

Success with Words. Reader's Digest. (ISBN 978-0-8957-7168-1)