According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, etymology is:
etymology, the history of a word or word element, including its origins and derivation. Modern scientific etymological study is based on the methods and findings of historical and comparative linguistics, the basic principles of which were established by linguists during the 19th century. The general principles involved in present-day etymology are:
"etymology." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 07 Feb. 2012. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/194715/etymology>.
The following reference books will be helpful with researching the definition and etymology of a word.
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If your term or word is unique to a field or subject (e.g. medical terms, technical terms) see if we have a subject dictionary or encyclopedia in the collection (e.g. "medical dictionary" or "medical encyclopedia").
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