“Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.”
As a writer I fell in love with this site. But I think just about everyone can get use out of it. You can either search for a word directly via the search engine at the top of the page or you can use the alphabet located beneath it.
If you choose a letter you get all the entries for that letter, there were 27 pages for the letter A. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn for example:
Abduct — “to kidnap,” 1834, altered from abduce “to draw away” by persuasion (1537), from L. abducere “lead away,” from ab- “away” + ducere “to lead”. Abduction is first recorded 1626 in lit. sense of “a leading away;” the illegal activity so called from 1768.
Not only do you find out what the word means, you also find out how it originated, and how it was originally used. You will probably want to check out the section “Introduction & Abbreviations”. As you get a list of the abbreviations used on the site and why the author of this site felt it was necessary to make this page. I thought that the author has a great idea.
This site is all about a love of language, and will teach you how it all began for each word. Check it out!