Walter Skeat (1835-1912) was one of the greatest investigators of the roots of the English language, and his remarkable scholarship was instrumental in the revival of the great works of early English Literature. His edition of Piers Plowman appeared in 1867, and The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer in 1894-97.
His Etymological Dictionary, the first of its kind, was published in 1882, and the Concise edition two years later.
Skeat's researches inspired those of later philologists and lexicographers such as James Murray, C.T. Onions and Eric Partridge, and his astonishing detective work into the origins and development of the world's most widely used language provides an unsurpassed guide to its flexibility and richness.