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t-f EtymologySignificant Significant Etymology or and BranchesRoots, Stems, of the English Language BY THE VERY REV. D.D.MITCHELL, M.A.,JAMES WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS EDINBURGH AND LONDON M CMV I 1 1 All Rights reserved PREFACE. THIS book is what it to a collectionprofesses be,simply and of the of theexplanation significant etymologies English It not written for but for intelli-islanguage. philologists, and men and women who are interestedgent thoughtful in the of their own and of the sourcesstudy language, "" from which it is derived. I have called it Significant because those roots are which throwEtymology, only given of words fromthe the derived them.light upon signification To a word from for of the sameGerman, example,quote sound and of the same as our is notown,meaning signifi- but andcant unless foruseless,etymology, insignificant and it is as that ; besides, justcomparative philology likely the German word has been taken from the as theEnglish from the German. In wherecase, however,English every the word us to understand the oforiginal helps meaning an word or shows us how it has come tobetter,English bear its I have endeavoured to trace thepresent meaning, the written recordsetymology clearly step by step through of even until its has been found inpast centuries, origin the fixed form of a parent language. I do claim Inot for the haveoriginality etymologies VI PREFACE. otherwise would be of little but Ivalue,verygiven, they all the ofhave traced them with care through changes and which haveletters, sounds, meanings they undergone Dictionaries and other booksdown to the Thepresent day. in to which I have been indebted are farmany languages or referred to in thetoo numerous to be mentioned here for there are few books on thenotes, very bearing subject I am not morewhich I have not and to whichconsulted, or less indebted while in cases I have used the ; many very wordsdefinitions which their authors have of thegiven in In I have seen reason to differseveral casesquestion. from other but I have done so without anyetymologists, I have hadaffectation of and in cases where ;timidity many to decide between I have alwaysconflicting etymologists, what seem to me reasons forassigned good my preference. While I cannot claim for the of thecredit originality I do claim credit for theassigned etymologies, originality of the method in which the words are inviz.,arranged to the different of whichsubjects theygroups, according or from which In all theare taken.treat, they etymologi- cal books in our words are classified and arrangedlanguage, from which areeither to theaccording languages they to the laws under which thederived, changes narrowed orhave taken or as haveplace, according they broadened in or or deteriorated in sense ;meaning, improved but this is the first so far as I and mosttime, know, in withoutcertainly where,English, overlooking altogether these methods of have been inclassification, they arranged an words connected withwithmanner,orderly beginning the universe at then the bodies the earth, ; heavenly ;large its two thedomains of land and water; mineral,great
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