Words fascinate me, and have done since I was a child. I relish the rhythm of words like “characteristic” and “stiletto”, and savour the texture of words such as “ooze” or “unctuous” and the contortions they twist your mouth and tongue into as your pronounce them. But what I love most of all about words is their histories. English is particularly delightful, with words borrowed, stolen, and bastardised from languages and cultures the world over.
Etymology is the study of the histories and origins of words, a subject that delights, surprises, and sometimes confounds its students. This section of the site will feature posts in which I attempt to convey my some of my own delight, as an amateur etymologist, on discovering a word with interesting ancestry.
P.S. There’s an XKCD for everything. And I knew I was going to use this one as soon as I started writing this post. The joke, of course, is that the characters have gotten “Etymology-Man” confused with “Entomology-Man” (Entomology is the study of insects). The alt-text is a joke about another similar word, “Aetiology” or the study of causation, typically used in the context of medicine.