You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Etymology’ category.

To prove that someone who was blamed for something is, in fact, not guilty. Latin “vindicare”=to see free, to avenge < “vim”=force + “dicere”=to say.

An ancient writing stick rod with a pointed end for scratching letters on wax-covered tablets and a blunt end for erasing them. Misspelling of the Latin “stilus” < a stake or pale, pointed instrument for writing < “*sti-“=to prick.

An unexpected or unusual event, which can be good or bad. Anglo-Norman “surprise”=an unexpected attack or capture of a position or place < “surprendre”=to take hold < Latin “superprendere” < “super”=over + “prehendere”=to seize.

To shed dead skin; more generally, to get rid of something no longer needed.Middle English “slouh”=the outer skin of a snake, possibly from Low German “sluwe”=peel, shell, or husk.

To find someone or something either by accident or because you were looking for them. Anglo-French “descovrir” < to reveal, to expose < Latin “discooperire” < “dis-“=opposite + “cooperire”=to cover < “co(m)-“=intensifier + “operire”=to conceal.

The blue color of the sky. Old French “azur” < Persian “al lazhward”=the lapis lazuli, a gemstone with a blue color.

Happening or coming at the end of a process or series of events; the greatest or most extreme form or example of something. Latin “ultimatus” < “ultimare”=to be at the end < “ultimus”=end, final.

A small waterfall; to fall or hang in large amounts. French “cascade” < Italian “cascata”=fall < Latin “cascare”=to fall + “-ata”=suffix forming nouns of action.

To fly up to a great height by floating on currents of air. French “essorer” < to fly up, rise < Latin “exaurare” < “ex-“=from, out of + “aura”=air, breeze.

A unit of energy in nuclear physics. Latin “quantum”=amount, quantity < “quantus”=how much, how many.

Using the site

Use the Search box below to look for a specific word. Use the A-Z tab to browse pages of words.
Follow Tweetionary: An Etymology Dictionary on