The Oxford Guide to Etymology by Philip DurkinThe Oxford Guide to Etymology by Philip Durkin

The Oxford Guide to Etymology

byPhilip Durkin

Paperback | August 7, 2011

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 224 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


This practical introduction to word history investigates every aspect of where words come from and how they change. Philip Durkin, chief etymologist of the Oxford English Dictionary, shows how different types of evidence can shed light on the myriad ways in which words change in form andmeaning. He considers how such changes can be part of wider linguistic processes, or be influenced by a complex mixture of social and cultural factors. He illustrates every point with a wide range of fascinating examples. Dr Durkin investigates folk etymology and other changes which words undergo in everyday use. He shows how language families are established, how words in different languages can have a common ancester, and the ways in which the latter can be distinguished from words introduced through languagecontact. He examines the etymologies of the names of people and places. His focus is on English but he draws many examples from languages such as French, German, and Latin which cast light on the pre-histories of English words. The Oxford Guide to Etymology is reliable, readable, instructive, and enjoyable. Everyone interested in the history of words will value this account of an endlessly fascinating subject.
Philip Durkin is Principal Etymologist of the Oxford English Dictionary. He trained as a medievalist and historian of the English language at the University of Oxford, where he completed a doctorate on previously unedited Middle English prose texts. He is a well-known speaker on English etymology. His publications include articles in s...
Title:The Oxford Guide to EtymologyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.81 inPublished:August 7, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199691614

ISBN - 13:9780199691616

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

About this book1. Introduction2. What is a Word? Which Words Need Etymologies?3. Are Words Coherent Entities?4. Word Formation5. Lexical Borrowing6. The Mechanisms of Borrowing7. Change in Word Form8. Semantic Change9. Etymology and Names10. ConclusionGlossarySuggested for Further ReadingReferencesGeneral IndexIndex of Word Forms

Editorial Reviews

"Not only is this book truly excellent, it is unique in at least two ways. First, because it is the only dedicated textbook on the market as far as I know entirely devoted to etymology; and second because it is by an etymologist working on the OED, the best and fullest etymological dictionaryof any language currently available." --Roger Lass, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, University of Cape Town 21/11/2008