This article begins by defining etymology as both the identification of word origins and the preparation of histories of individual words or word families. It next offers a brief overview of the history of this linguistic subdiscipline. The article then discusses such topics as the relationship of etymology to other branches of historical linguistics, the diffusion of the findings of etymological research (especially in etymological dictionaries), theoretical and methodological questions, and the insights provided by etymological reconstruction of the lexicon of undocumented language states into the cultures and social structures of past historical periods.
Dworkin, S. N. (2015). Etymology. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition (pp. 207–211). Elsevier Inc. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.53007-4