Of all the free language references available online, my absolute favorite is the Online Etymology Dictionary:
a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English…explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.
My usual practice in researching a post is to consult several references–online and in print. When my topic is a single word or expression, I usually begin with the Online Etymology Dictionary.
Hmm, I just tried to abbreviate the title, but realized that I can’t use its initials because they are the same as another, better-known reference.
In all the time I’ve been using the OEtyD, this is the first time I’d given any thought to how its creators are able to provide this wonderful site for free.
The other day my eye fell on a link I’d never noticed before:
Sponsor a word, and help keep the Online Etymology Dictionary free and open.
The link led me to the plea for donations, but unlike most such pleas, this one is hard to resist.
For a mere $10, donors can sponsor a word of their choice for six months.
Think of it! If no one else has already claimed it, you can sponsor a beautiful word like hyperventilation or minuscule.
You can dedicate a word to your girl friend or boy friend. You can even submit a photo to go with your word and a personalized message explaining why you chose it.
I couldn’t resist. After all, I do use this reference a lot. And I enjoy it. In fact, sometimes I enjoy it so much I spend more time “researching” than is absolutely necessary.
I’ve signed up to sponsor the word standard.
Check it out. If nothing else, you’ll enjoy browsing the Sponsors page and reading the various reasons for their word choices.