Etymology
Posted: 22 April 2014 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I had discussion with someone the other day and I said that the etymology of the word politic also refers to : OED c. derogatory. Scheming, crafty, cunning.

He corrected me and said it is not the etymology of the word, for etymology signifies the words origin not its history and usage. I disagreed and the discussion evolved into quite a contentious debate, which has not been settled, to the point that we made a bet.

I contend that etymology refers to the origin of a word and its historical development.  Therefore, the etymology of a word is the study of its origin and its history and usage. Am I wrong?  My specific question is whether I was incorrect in phrasing my sentence that the etymology of the word politic also refers to one who is crafty, scheming and cunning. Should I have said, the history or the usage of the word, rather than the etymology of the word? 

Dictionary Online: 2.
a chronological account of the birth and development of a particular word or element of a word, often delineating its spread from one language to another and its evolving changes in form and meaning. Synonyms: word history, word lore, historical development.
3.
the study of historical linguistic change, especially as manifested in individual words.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I had discussion with someone the other day and I said that the etymology of the word politic also refers to : OED c. derogatory. Scheming, crafty, cunning.

What do you mean by “refers to” in the above quote?

Etymology does indeed include the semantic development of a word as well as its morphological development and origin. But not everything having to do with the meaning of a word is etymological. If you were discussing how politic came to mean scheming or crafty, then yes, you were discussing its etymology. But the mere fact that it can mean that, isn’t its etymology.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Dave Wilton - 22 April 2014 12:49 PM

I had discussion with someone the other day and I said that the etymology of the word politic also refers to : OED c. derogatory. Scheming, crafty, cunning.

What do you mean by “refers to” in the above quote?

Etymology does indeed include the semantic development of a word as well as its morphological development and origin. But not everything having to do with the meaning of a word is etymological. If you were discussing how politic came to mean scheming or crafty, then yes, you were discussing its etymology. But the mere fact that it can mean that, isn’t its etymology.

If I understand you correctly then the etymology of a word does not exclusively refer to its inception, but it refers to its history and various usages?

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Posted: 22 April 2014 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Logophile - 22 April 2014 03:36 PM

Dave Wilton - 22 April 2014 12:49 PM
I had discussion with someone the other day and I said that the etymology of the word politic also refers to : OED c. derogatory. Scheming, crafty, cunning.

What do you mean by “refers to” in the above quote?

Etymology does indeed include the semantic development of a word as well as its morphological development and origin. But not everything having to do with the meaning of a word is etymological. If you were discussing how politic came to mean scheming or crafty, then yes, you were discussing its etymology. But the mere fact that it can mean that, isn’t its etymology.

If I understand you correctly then the etymology of a word does not exclusively refer to its inception, but it refers to its history and various usages?

Not its various usages, but the history of its usage.

EDIT:
Given that
a) the “scheming, crafty, cunning” meaning is considered current, not obsolete or archaic
b) this sense doesn’t seem to have led anywhere else, ie is not needed as an intermediate step to explain any other current meaning
I would not consider that this specific meaning is relevant to a discussion of the etymology of this word.

[ Edited: 22 April 2014 04:54 PM by OP Tipping ]
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Posted: 22 April 2014 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Not its various usages, but the history of its usage.

To simplify this for my rather obtuse brain, for I’m having a problem understanding. The sentence: “The etymology of politic is crafty, scheming etc.” would that be correct as a statement referring to the proper usage of etymology?

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Posted: 22 April 2014 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The sentence: “The etymology of politic is crafty, scheming etc.” would that be correct as a statement referring to the proper usage of etymology?

No, not at all.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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What OPT said.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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OP Tipping - 22 April 2014 06:31 PM
The sentence: “The etymology of politic is crafty, scheming etc.” would that be correct as a statement referring to the proper usage of etymology?

No, not at all.

Dictionary.com

et·y·mol·o·gy [et-uh-mol-uh-jee] Show IPA
noun, plural et·y·mol·o·gies.
1.
the derivation of a word. Synonyms: word origin, word source, derivation, origin.
2.
a chronological account of the birth and development of a particular word or element of a word, often delineating its spread from one language to another and its evolving changes in form and meaning. Synonyms: word history, word lore, historical development.

One of the meanings of the word politic is crafty, scheming etc.; therefore, would that not be the etymology of the word?

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Posted: 22 April 2014 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dr. Techie - 22 April 2014 06:36 PM

What OPT said.

I appreciate what OPT said, but he’s not helping me by not giving me the proper terminology. Dave said: . If you were discussing how politic came to mean scheming or crafty, then yes, you were discussing its etymology.

Therefore, why would my sentence: the etymology of politic is crafty, scheming, cunning. I understand that the sentence might be poorly constructed, but I’m trying to get to the proper usage of etymology in its relationship to the word.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I don’t think I can express myself more plainly so I’ll leave it to others.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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All you have to do is simply look up “politic” at etymology online and you’ll see that the etymology of the word is where it comes from.

politic (adj.)
early 15c., “pertaining to public affairs,” from Middle French politique “political” (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus “of citizens or the state, civil, civic,” from Greek politikos “of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life,” from polites “citizen,” from polis “city” (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as “prudent, judicious.”

“The etymology of politic is crafty, scheming etc.”

The etymology of the word “politic” is that it comes from the Middle French which comes from the Latin which comes from the Greek. Your etymology is just a list of usages after the word became part of English and doesn’t say anything about how the word originated.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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OP Tipping - 22 April 2014 08:30 PM

I don’t think I can express myself more plainly so I’ll leave it to others.

Thanks for the explanation. For some reason I did not read the edit part of your former post until just now. I did not see it initially.

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Posted: 22 April 2014 09:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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happydog - 22 April 2014 08:36 PM

All you have to do is simply look up “politic” at etymology online and you’ll see that the etymology of the word is where it comes from.

politic (adj.)
early 15c., “pertaining to public affairs,” from Middle French politique “political” (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus “of citizens or the state, civil, civic,” from Greek politikos “of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life,” from polites “citizen,” from polis “city” (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as “prudent, judicious.”

“The etymology of politic is crafty, scheming etc.”

The etymology of the word “politic” is that it comes from the Middle French which comes from the Latin which comes from the Greek. Your etymology is just a list of usages after the word became part of English and doesn’t say anything about how the word originated.

Thank you for this clarification. I did look up politic at etymology online and also the OED, I was quite familiar with its etymology, but I obviously was mistaken when I referred to its usage as being its etymology. The debate I had with my friend involved the definition of etymology.  He insisted that the etymology of a word is concerned only with its origin; I disagreed, for it also involves its development.

Thanks again for the clarification.

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