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5H Etymology Anatoly Liberman Ahornas Blount (1656) was the first English lexicographer to supply words with etymologies in a comprehensive dictionary. His practice took root in England and later in the United States. Discussion of word origins occupies a place of honor in Webster (1828) and in the works ofhis successors and competitors. When TL· Century Dictionary v/as conceived as a new authoritative reference work that would "be serviceable for every library and practical use," as its editor William Dwight Whitney put it, he had to decide about the format of the etymologies. Whitney's general ideas on this subject are stated in the Preface to the first edition (vii—viii): [The etymologies] have been written anew, on a uniform plan, and in accordance with the established principles ofcomparative philology . The best works in English etymology, as well as in etymology and philology in general, have been regularly consulted, the most helpful being those of Prof. Skeat and Eduard Müller, and the "New English Dictionary on Historical Principles," edited by Dr.J.A.H. Murray (which, however, could be consulted in revising the proofs ofA and of part of B only); but the conclusions reached are independent. It has been possible by means of the fresh material at the disposal of the etymologist to clear up in many cases doubts or difficulties hitherto resting upon the history of particular words, to decide definitely in favor of one of several suggested etymologies, to discard numerous current errors, and to give for the first time the history of many words of which the etymologies were previously unknown or erroneously stated. Noteworthy features of the etymologies will be found to be the method followed in stating the ascertained facts ofthe history of each word, and the extensive collation of cognate or allied words. . . . When an Anglo-Saxon or other Teutonic form is mentioned, the cognate forms are given from the Old Saxon, the Old Friesic, the Dutch, Low German, High German, and *Work on this paper was partially supported by NEH grant FT-40866-95. 30______________________Anatoly Liberman Icelandic in their several periods, the Swedish (and often the Norwegian), the Danish, and the Gothic. The same form of statement is used with the Romance and other groups offorms—the Old French and modern French, the Provençal, the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Italian, and sometimes in special instances the Wallachian and odier Romance forms, being given in a regular order, and derived together from their Latin or other source. Widi the Latin are mentioned die Greek cognates , if any such existed, the Slavic forms, if concerned, and the Sanskrit, Persian, etc. If the Arabic or Hebrew is reached, other Semitic forms are sometimes stated. The rule has been to deduce from a comparison of all the principal forms the primitive sense or form, and also to make the process of inference clear to the consulter ofthe dictionary. On page vii of the second edition, Charles Payson Gurley Scott, Ph.D., Litt.D., is mentioned among the 33 contributors to the first and among the 79 contributors to the second edition of the Century. Wherever feasible, not only the field of expertise but also the place of employment is given after the contributors' names: for example, Charles Sanders Peirce, ScB., A.M., lately Lecturer on Logic at the Johns Hopkins University and of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (logic; metaphysics ; mathematics; mechanics; astronomy; weights and measures); William Dwight Whitney, Ph.D, LL.D., Professor of Comparative Philology and Sanskrit at Yale University (spelling; pronunciation; grammar; comparative philology; ethnology; anthropology). A few editorial contributors , Scott among them, were not attached to any institution; only Scott's area (etymologies), but not his affiliation, is specified. Besides Scott, we find James Albert Harrison, L.H.D., LL.D., Professor of Teutonic Languages at the University of Virginia (contributions to the etymologies in the last quarter of the alphabet), and it is said in the Preface to the first edition (viii) that Scott was also assisted, in the later part of the work, by Prof. William M. Baskervill, Professor Francis A. March,Jr., and others (unnamed). Scott is not recorded in any reference book I...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2160-5076
Print ISSN
0197-6745
Pages
pp. 29-54
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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