This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1859. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... Dictionary of English etymology Hensleigh Wedgwood (M.A.) INTRODUCTION. The inquiry must sometimes occur even to those not specially engaged in the study of language, by what steps does such and such a word come to have the meaning in which it is actually found, what is the earliest source to which it can be traced, and what are the cognate forms either in our own or in related languages. The answer to inquiries of such a nature constitutes what we look for in the etymology of a language. But if we are asked to recommend a book of reference in English etymology, we find it hard to point out a work to which resort may be had, with a reasonable expectation of meeting with reliable information on the subject. The increase of linguistic knowledge, and the quantity of materials placed within reach of the student, since the Etymologicums of Skinner and Junius, would inevitably have required a review of their labours, if they had been guided by far more correct views of the development of language, than those of which the authors have given proof in the works above cited, acute and learned men as they both of them were. In later times the subject of English etymology has for the most part been treated as a subordinate department in the dictionaries of the language, and the choice would now lie between the elaborate works published within the limits of the present generation by Todd, Richardson, and Webster. The labour of compiling a dictionary single-handed can leave so little leisure for original speculation, that we ought not perhaps to look to the authors of such a work for more than a judicious selection among the suggestions afforded by the current philology of the period. Little more than this is aimed at in t...
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