What is the etymology of etymology, and is it good etymology or bad etymology?

By: | Post date: 2017-02-05 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, English, Linguistics

I think I get your question. Is the etymology of etymology subject to the Etymological fallacy?

The etymological fallacy is a genetic fallacy that holds that the present-day meaning of a word or phrase should necessarily be similar to its historical meaning. This is a linguistic misconception, and is sometimes used as a basis for linguistic prescription. An argument constitutes an etymological fallacy if it makes a claim about the present meaning of a word based exclusively on its etymology. This does not, however, show that etymology is irrelevant in any way, nor does it attempt to prove such.

And the answer is, of course it is. Etymon is from the Greek for “true”. Not “true origin”, just “true”—as in “true meaning”. As in, the truth of the word is to be found in its origin.

That’s your etymological fallacy right there.

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