- Hardcover: 1320 pages
- Publisher: Chambers (6 Aug. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0550142304
- ISBN-13: 978-0550142306
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 5.7 x 25.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Chambers Dictionary of Etymology Hardcover – 6 Aug 1999
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'The best of scholarship ... the most user-friendly of etymological dictionaries' (University of Georgia)
The origins and development of over 30,000 English wordsSee all Product description
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QUOTE A lot of the words don't go back to the real origin. "Street' for example is said to be derived from the Latin "Strata" or "paved road", when the Latin actually comes from the Semitic, "Serat" for "straight road".UNQUOTE
Semitic "Serat" (also Arabic "Sirat") comes from Latin (via Greek as an intermediary) not the other way around as asserted by the reviewer. There is simply no doubt about this. As pointed out in the Chambers Dictionary, "Strata" is the past participle of the Latin verb STERNERE ("to lay down", "to spread out") which shares a common INDO-EUROPEAN origin with the Germanic root which is the basis of English STREW. I have not seen ANY etymological dictionary that has a different explanation, and I have consulted authoritative ones in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German. In English, this origin is confirmed by, among others, (i) the Oxford English Dictionary, (ii) the American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.
A second comment of the same reviewer was
QUOTE The dictionary also lists many languages that use a specific word without telling us about the source of the word, which is what etymology is about.UNQUOTE
In fact, my impression is that the Chambers Dictionary gives far more information than other comparable etymological dictionaries in terms of the ultimate roots of words. Taking a word at random, for "make", Old English macian is traced back through Old Saxon makon to Proto-Germanic *makojanan from the Indo-European root *mag-. It is also shown to be cognate with Old High German mahhon, Old Frisian makia, Greek magenai ("to be kneaded, be molded") and mageus ("baker"), Old Slavic mazati ("anoint"), among others.
The Chambers Dictionary is one of the best I have seen, particularly in view of its not unreasonable price.
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