English Word Origins

I’m a visual person, so I appreciate graphs, especially color coded ones! But I’m also a design person, so color schemes get to me. While their color scheme makes me shudder a bit, I am digging this visual representation of English word origins!

Read the original study here. If you hover over the highlighted words, you can see the origin of the word. Click a word, and you’ll be taken to its entry in the etymology dictionary. Pretty nifty stuff!

Interested in English word origins? Did you know that Old English (that big pink chunk of the pie) has Germanic roots? Be sure to read my post on Anglo-Saxon versus Latinate Diction.

5 thoughts on “English Word Origins

  1. thegloriousart says:

    I’m glad someone else is so passionate about word origins! Part of my A2 language course was studying language change from about the early 1700s to modern day. It’s absolutely fascinating how language changed and still is changing through standardization, how new ‘slang’ words emerge as a result of culture and how influential the tv and radio can be, such as introducing estuary English. Good on you for following this through! 🙂

    • Lara says:

      When I was in elementary and middle school, I was a major Shakespeare fan and wrote a paper on all of the words and phrases he coined. Puppy dog is one of them. I am a fan of evolving English—I love when they add new words! I wasn’t on board with their adding “LOL” but now I’ve come around. After all, dictionaries should have definitions of words we use!

  2. Bonnie Staiger says:

    Can’t wait to savor all of this and the embedded links. I’m fascinated by word origins and how word parts have an effect on meaning. I think that makes me a word nerd. ACK!

  3. Lara says:

    Reblogged this on Lara Willard and commented:

    I meant to send out a cutesy announcement that I’ve been accepted into Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, but this week has been incredibly busy. Tonight is my pre-orientation, and I’m thrilled to be joining this program.
    I still plan on posting to the blog rarely: quality over quantity! But I also hope to resurrect my weekly (or bi-weekly) newsletter, which you can subscribe to in the footer on my website.

    Until then, here’s an old post I recently remembered about word origins. Click through to the original study for an interactive look at the inherent etymology of five different passages: American lit, British lit, legal, medicine, and sports. And check out my Anglo-Saxon Diction post for an exercise in word choice.

    Do you have plans for the summer? What are your writing goals for the next couple of months? If I can help you achieve them in some way—comment or reply! ❤ Lara

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