Need Help?

Get in touch with us


Etymology to Determine the Meaning of the Word

Grade 10
May 7, 2023

The etymology of… the term “Etymology.”

It is derived from the Greek words ‘etymons,’ meaning ‘true,’ and ‘lógos,’ denoting ‘word’ – it means then a ‘true word.’


  1. What other words do you know to include the suffix ‘ology’?
  2. How is the word ‘morphology’ linked?
  3. Find out the etymology of familiar words you use in everyday life.

Here are the Answers!!! (Various Answers Possible)

1. What Other Words do you Know to Include the Suffix ‘ology’?

Ans. Examples of the suffix -ology words include cardiology (study of the heart), dermatology (study of the skin), oceanology (study of oceans), biology (study of life), zoology (study of animals), ecology (study of organisms/the environment), and sociology (study of social interaction).

2. How is the Word ‘Morphology’ Linked?

Ans. Etymology and morphology involve looking at the origin and structure of words, respectively. These strategies can help us to understand better where words come from, what words mean, and how to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words.

The Etymology of the Word… Salary

Salary is the payment received for some work or services rendered. But where did this coinage come from?


3. Find Out the Etymology of a Familiar Word you Use in Everyday Life.

The etymology of… salary

Ans. This word for regular payment has some surprising roots linked to ‘salt.’

You can see this is the prefix ‘sal’ – with’ salary’ coming from Latin, relating to how soldiers were paid in salt (a much-prized object in ancient times) rather than money.

A 1670 picture showing salt production

Over time, by the 19 century, it became restricted to recompense stipulated to be paid to a person periodically for services, usually a fixed sum.


A good way to think of etymology is to use the image of tree roots. As language develops, all the individual roots of a word come together to form a sturdy foundation.

The tree is the current form of a language, standing tall – nevertheless, the roots that came before it.

Word Roots

Why Should You Learn Word Roots?

  • You will recognize word chunks in unfamiliar
  • Words and be able to narrow down the possible meaning of the word
  • It will help you with vocabulary in many subject areas
  • You will be better able to pronounce unfamiliar words
  • Since many languages have common roots with Latin and Greek, it makes learning a foreign language

The etymology of English vocabulary is taught in relation to the Greek and Latin root words we find in common use.

This can be a great way to build blocks of language, such as prefixes and suffixes.

Etymology in the English Language

English is influenced by many hundreds of years of development. As a result, their area of study is related to documenting the origins of words and how English interacts with other languages.

The early stage of Modern English (the kind spoken by William Shakespeare in the 1500s) borrows heavily from Latin and Ancient Greek and other nearby languages such as French, German, and Dutch.

This means that the English language we use today is a unique blend of many influences. Therefore, it is important to know the roots and origin of the words.

Keeping in view the aforesaid reason and also for the purposes of our convenience, we will be looking at common root words borrowed from Greek and Latin, as this provides a clear way of showing how our English vocabulary has been shaped throughout history.

The Etymology of Words:

Perhaps the best way to look at etymology is to highlight words that are in common use today, underlining the meanings, roots, and usage.

As with many aspects of language, our understanding of etymology might change over time.

The Etymology of Words:

Perhaps the best way to look at etymology is to highlight words that are in common use today, underlining the meanings, roots, and usage.

Before we go on, it should be noted that etymologies of words are often hard to pin down for certain. Academics frequently disagree about the origins of some words, and misinformation is rampant. Moreover, as with many aspects of language, our understanding of etymology might change over time.

With that being said, here are some relevant examples that we can discuss.

Etymology of Words

Why is Etymology Important?

Understanding that words have root meanings is important because it can allow us to expand and reinforce our vocabulary, by highlighting the smaller puzzle pieces that make our language.

Words with Greek or Latin roots often cannot be easily figured out just by using context clues, so understanding how to look up the root meaning of a word will give you more confidence when you come across a word like this in your reading.

Etymology is also a useful way to recognize patterns within words, working on useful problem-solving and memory-based skills that are important when learning a language.

The etymology of some familiar words we use in everyday life.

The etymology of… corridor

A familiar word and path for pupils and teachers, derived from the Latin ‘currere,’ meaning ‘to run.’

Originally, it is known as a strip of land running along a ditch or huge pit. Now, it has more recently been stripped of its more specific origins.

Let Us Study More Words with the Prefix’ cor.’

words with the prefix

Here are some words with the prefix ‘cor.’

  • Corporation
  • Correlation
  • Cornerstone
  • Corroborate
  • Corporatist
  • Correlative
  • Corruptible
  • Corporative

The Purpose of Etymology:

  • Etymology is quite important as by making use of it, we can become good wordsmiths.
  • If the root of the word origin is known, it can be understood better and maybe effectively, precisely, and beautifully put into use.
  • It often helps to know the meanings of unfamiliar words.
  • It can lead to a beginning to grow the existing knowledge of vocabulary.


Related topics


Exploring the World of Adjectives: Types, Usage, and Examples

What are Parts of Speech? Parts of speech determine words’ grammatical and semantic position in a sentence. Activity time The parts of speech are nouns, adverbs, conjunctions, pronouns, interjections, adjectives, articles, prepositions, and verbs. Identify the parts of speech of the underlined words in the following sentences. White- Adjective Big- Adjective    Exciting- Adjectives New- […]

Memoir writing

Memoir Writing: Basic Elements, Structures, and Types

Memoir: A memoir is a narrative written from an author’s perspective about a particular facet of his/her own life. ‘Memoir’ word comes from the French word ‘memoire’, which means ‘memory’ or ‘reminiscence’. Example Night: Elie Wiesel gives an account of how he survived his teenage years at Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps during World War […]

Identifying the main idea

Identification of Main Idea in Fiction and Non-fiction

Every story or paragraph or non-fictional text has at least one main idea. The MAIN IDEA is what the text is mostly about. (It is backed up or supported by SUPPORTING DETAILS) Before discussing how to find the main idea, we shall first look at TOPIC. Can you define a topic? A topic can be […]

Writing an Article

Writing an Article: Structure and Essential Tips

What is an article? Structure of Article Writing : Title : Draw the attention of readers with an attractive title and indicate the main topic of the article Introduction : Attract the reader’s attention with a sentence that gives a general presentation of the topic. Main Body : Between these sentences, the body should do […]


Other topics