Etymological Sources & Links

Notes On Sources

These are various sources used in the creation of this site or that are useful for etymological/linguistic work in general.

Some sources are labeled historical. This means that they don't reflect current scholarship, but they remain useful for insight into the state of the language in years past.

If you search the site, you may also find deprecated resources, which are not listed on this page. I am using deprecated in the computer science sense of something that is not going to be supported moving forward. It is not a comment on the quality of the source—many of the "deprecated" works are of high quality, but are tangential to this site or have a very narrow focus (e.g., a volume on the history of the term hot dog).

Oft-Used Sources

These are the sources habitually consulted in the creation of the words on "The Big List." The sources in this category are also listed in the other resources categories, as appropriate.

American Dialect Society Email Discussion List (ADS-L)
American Heritage Dictionary
American Language (Mencken) [Historical]
American Speech
Dickson Baseball Dictionary
Dictionary of American Regional English
Dictionary of Canadian Place Names
Google Books
Historical Dictionary of American Slang
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names
New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
Oxford English Dictionary
Proquest Historical Newspapers
Safire's Political Dictionary
Webster's Third New International Dictionary
Yale Book of Quotations

General Dictionaries

These are general, all-purpose dictionaries that contain excellent etymological information.

American Dict. of the English Lang. (Webster, 1828) [Historical]
American Heritage Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia [Historical]
Dictionary of the English Language (Johnson, 1755) [Historical]
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
OneLook Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
Webster's Third New International Dictionary

Etymology/Historical Linguistics/History of English

These are sources, other than dictionaries, that address etymology, historical linguistics, and the history of the English language.

Adventure of English, The
Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology
Chambers Dictionary of Etymology
Comments on Etymology
Concise Etymological Dict. of the English Lang. [Historical]
English Language, The (Barber)
Historical Linguistics (Schendl)
Inventing English
Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories
Origins of English Words (Shipley)
Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories
Oxford Guide to Etymology
Stories of English (Crystal)
Word Myths
Word Origins (Liberman)

Medieval English

These are resources about Old and Middle English, as well as some other languages that influenced the development of the English language in the middle ages.

Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Bosworth-Toller)
Book of Middle English
Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary
Dictionary of Old English Online
Guide to Old English
Medieval Latin Word-List
Middle English Dictionary
Middle English Syntax
Old English and Its Closest Relatives
Old English at the University of Virginia
Old English Corpus
Old English Grammar (Campbell)
Old English Newsletter Online
Proverbs Before 1500 (Whiting)


These are resources that focus on slang and colloquial English.

American Thesaurus of Slang [Historical]
Cassell's Dictionary of Slang
Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue [Historical]
Dictionary of American Slang [Historical]
Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English [Historical]
Green's Dictionary of Slang
Historical Dictionary of American Slang
Lexicon Balatronicum [Historical]
New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
Official Dictionary of Unofficial English
Oxford Dictionary of Slang
Polari--The Lost Language of Gay Men
Slang and Its Analogues (Farmer & Henley) [Historical]
Slang Through The Ages
Studies In Slang


These are resources that focus on quotes and phrases.

Brave New Words
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable
Dictionary of Catch Phrases (Partridge)
Early American Proverbs (Whiting)
Modern Proverbs & Proverbial Sayings (Whiting)
Nice Guys Finish Seventh
Oxford Dictionary of Catchphrases
Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
Oxford Dictionary of Political Quotations
Proverbs Before 1500 (Whiting)
Quote Verifier
Science Fiction Quotations
They Never Said It
Yale Book of Quotations

English Dialects

These are resources about various dialects of English around the world.

American Dialect Dictionary (Wentworth) [Historical]
American Language (Mencken) [Historical]
American Speech
Australian Language, The
Australian Slanguage
Black Talk
Colonial American English
Dialects of England
Dictionary of American Regional English
Dictionary of Americanisms (Bartlett, 1848) [Historical]
Dictionary of Americanisms (Mathews) [Historical]
Dictionary of Canadianisms on Historical Principles Online
Dictionary of Newfoundland English Online
Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English
Dictionary of South African English
Dictionary of the Scots Language
Handbook of the International Phonetic Association
How We Talk: American Regional English Today
Macquarie Dictionary
Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions
Oxford Guide to World English
Scots Dialect Dictionary


These are resources about place names.

Dictionary of Canadian Place Names
Dictionary of English Place-Names
Illustrated Dictionary of Place Names
Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names


These are resources about particular jargons and technical vocabularies.

Black's Law Dictionary
Dickson Baseball Dictionary
Dictionary of Forces Slang [Historical]
Hatchet Jobs and Hardball
Hobson-Jobson [Historical]
Jargon File
Safire's Political Dictionary


These are resources about newly coined words and phrases.

Double-Tongued Dictionary
New Words (Hargraves)
Official Dictionary of Unofficial English
Predicting New Words
Word Spy


These are resources about "bad" words.

Anatomy of Swearing
Classic American Graffiti
Dictionary of Euphemisms & Other Doubletalk
Encyclopedia of Swearing
Euphemism & Dysphemism
F-Word, The
Forbidden Words
Slang of Sin
Swearing (Hughes)
Swearing in English

Primary Source Databases

These are online databases that contain primary source material that is useful for etymological and historical linguistic research.
Google Books
Making of America Database (Cornell)
Making of America Database (Michigan)
Proquest Historical Newspapers


Books and sources on style and usage.

Alt.Usage.English Web Site
Associated Press Stylebook
Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language
Cambridge Grammar of the English Language
Cambridge Guide to English Usage
Chicago Manual of Style
Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language
Elements of Style
Garner's Modern American Usage
Grammar Girl: Quick & Dirty Tips
Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage
Modern English Usage (Fowler) [Historical]
New Fowler's Modern English Usage
Oxford Style Manual

Language Web Sites & Blogs

The following are links to web-based general language sources and blogs about language. Online sources that fall into other categories, such as online dictionaries, are listed in those categories.

American Dialect Society Email Discussion List (ADS-L)
Arnold Zwicky's Blog
Barry Popik's Big Apple Web Site
Dictionary Society of America Blog
English, Jack
Good: Wordtastic
Language Log
Language On the Move
Lexicographer's Rules
Lousy Linguist
Mind Your Language
Motivated Grammar
Mr. Verb
NYT On Language Column
Penultimate Word
Separated By A Common Language
Stæfcræft & Vyākaraṇa
Subversive Copy Editor Blog
The Word
Throw Grammar From the Train
Unlocked Wordhoard
Word Detective
World Wide Words
Wormtalk and Slugspeak
You Don't Say

Non-English Resources

Resources about languages other than English.

Chambers Murray Latin-English Dictionary
Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic
Dictionary of Languages (Dalby)
Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe
Etymological Dictionary of Scottish-Gaelic [Historical]
Latin Dictionary (Lewis & Short)
Medieval Latin Word-List
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