Online Etymology Dictionary

Online Etymology Dictionary

Screenshot of
Type of business Private
Type of site
Etymological dictionary
Available in English
Founded Online (c. 2000)
Headquarters Lancaster, PA, US
Key people
Employees 1
Alexa rank 19,319 (September 2016)[1]
Registration no
Current status active

The Online Etymology Dictionary is a free online dictionary that describes the origins of English-language words.[2]


Douglas Harper (aka "The Sciolist") compiled the etymology dictionary to record the history and evolution of more than 30,000 words, including slang and technical terms.[3] The core body of its etymology information stems from Ernest Weekley's An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English (1921). Other sources include the Middle English Dictionary and the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology (by Robert Barnhart and others). In producing his large dictionary, Douglas Harper says that he is essentially and for the most part a compiler, an evaluator of etymology reports which others have made.[4] Harper works as a Copy editor/Page designer for LNP Media Group.[5][6]

As of June 2015, there were nearly 50,000 entries in the dictionary.[7]

Reviews and reputation

The Online Etymology Dictionary has been referenced by Ohio University's library as a relevant etymological resource[2] and cited in the Chicago Tribune as one of the "best resources for finding just the right word".[8] It is cited in numerous articles as a source for explaining the history and evolution of words.[9][10][11]


  1. "Alexa Ranking". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  2. 1 2 "Online Etymology Dictionary". Ohio University. 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  3. "Home Page". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2006-12-31.
  4. The dictionary's principal sources appear at Sources @ Online Etymology Dictionary.
  8. Bierma, Nathan (3 January 2007). "Internet has best resources for finding just the right word". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
  9. Rudeen, Mike. "Any questions?; Ask! away on the News' new blog'". Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Colorado), 18 December 2006, republished by, accessed 2007-01-05.
  10. Murali, D. "Big results require big ambitions". Business Line (Chennai), 21 July 2006, Section: Opinion, republished by, accessed 2007-01-05.
  11. Whyte, Ellen. "Online resources to help improve your vocabulary". New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur), 27 October 2005, republished by, accessed 2007-01-05.
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