Google Wants to Enable the Amateur Etymologist in All of Us | Smart News | Smithsonian
Current Issue
October 2014 magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

Google Wants to Enable the Amateur Etymologist in All of Us

A quick Google will now give you the history of your word

smithsonian.com

Photo: Google

As languages constantly evolvemorphfade and  emerge, it’s up to the etymologists of the world to track and interpret these shifts, in order to better understand where our words came from and what they’re becoming. And now Google is getting into the etymology game.

Photo: Google

Google already offers a few word-related services, such as Ngrams, which lets you visualize the changing use of words through time. The etymology function is simple: Go the search engine and type “etymology” and then the word you’re interested in. Google will spit out the simplified root and evolution of your words.

Photo: Google 

Not every etymological search will provide a result, but there are certainly some gems to be found. For instance, we now know that every time we’ve referred to a “pizza pie,” we’ve been a bit dumb.

Photo: Google

H/T Michael Shafrir

More from Smithsonian.com:

Do Geography and Altitude Shape the Sounds of a Language?
English Evolving Much More Slowly on the Internet than During the Renaissance
Where Did the Phrase “Hubba Hubba” Come From?
A New Language Is Being Born in This Remote Australian Village

Tags
About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus