Detailed etymological dictionary?
September 3, 2009 5:01 PM Subscribe
Does a comprehensive etymological dictionary exist that crosses languages?
posted by Tchad to writing & language (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I am looking for an etymological dictionary, but one that spans multiple languages.
Of the two I own now, one of them is very straightforward. It gives the word, then one or two roots. Sometimes it gives a third root or a proposed theoretical root. The other defines the word, and then gives a short story about the word's origin.
What I am looking for is something like the two of them combined but also with derivations in other languages.
So maybe the root for English "x" is in Latin "y", but Russian and German used "y" to form this other word "z" which means "n". Even better if it were to detail the structure of the root from which it was taken - as in "When Russian borrowed "y" to form "z" they used the ablative case, where the English borrowed the nominative".
I guess I am looking for an etymological dictionary that goes back a step or two, then turns and comes forward again in another place with lots of detail.
I know it would be a tall order, but does something like this exist? I have Googled, but cannot find anything this broad.