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ETYMOLOGY (Gr. grvµos, true, and X6yo...

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Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 865 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ETYMOLOGY (Gr. grvµos, true, and X6yos, "account), that part or branch of the science of linguistics which deals with the origin or derivation of words. The Greek word Ervµos, in so far as it was applied to words, referred to the real underlying meaning rather than to the origin. It was the Stoics who asserted that the discovery of re Ervµov would explain the essence of the things and ideas represented by words. Plato in the Cratylus makes a nearer approach to the modern view when he connects, e.g. yvvi7, woman, with yovn, seed, while he jests at such etymological feats as the derivation of oupavos, heaven, barb roil op&v ra avw, from looking at things above, or avOpwiros, man, from 6 avaOp%ov d. 6irwnrev, he who Iooks up at what he sees. Until the comparative study of philology and the development of the laws underlying phonetic changes, the derivation of words was a matter mostly of guess-work, sometimes right but more often wrong, based on superficial resemblances of form and the like. This popular etymology, to which the Germans have given the name Volksetymologie or folk-etymology, has had much influence in the form which words take (e.g. " crawfish " or crayfish," from the French crevis, modern ecrevisse, or " sand-blind," from samblind, i.e. semi-, half-blind), and has frequently been the occasion of homonyms. W. W. Skeat has embodied in certain canons or rules some well-known principles which should be observed in giving the etymology of a word; these may be usefully given here: " (1) Before attempting an etymology, ascertain the earliest form and use of the word, and observe chronology. (2) Observe history and geography; borrowings are due to actual contact. (3) Observe phonetic laws, especially those which regulate the mutual relation of consonants in the various Aryan languages, at the same time comparing the vowel sounds. (4) In comparing two words, A and B, belonging to the same language, of which A contains the lesser number of syllables, A must be taken to be the more original word, unless we have evidence of contraction or other corruption. (5) In comparing two words, A and B, belonging to the same language and consisting of the same number of syllables, the older form can usually be distinguished by observing the sound of the principal vowel. (6) Strong verbs, in the Teutonic languages, and the so-called " irregular verbs " in Latin, are commonly to be considered as primary, other related forms being taken from them. (q) The whole of a word, and not a portion only, ought to be reasonably accounted for; and, in tracing changes of form, any infringement of phonetic laws is to be regarded with suspicion. (8) Mere resemblances of form and apparent connexion in sense between languages which have different phonetic laws or no necessary connexion are commonly a delusion, and are not to be regarded. (9) When words in two different languages are more nearly alike than the ordinary phonetic laws would allow, there is a strong probability that one language has borrowed the word from the other. Truly cognate words ought not to be too much alike. (1o) It is useless to offer an explanation of an English word which will not also explain all the cognate forms " (Introduction to Etymological Dictionary of the English Language, 1898). An English word is either " the extant formal representative or direct phonetic descendant of an earlier (Teutonic) word; or it has been adopted or adapted from some foreign language," adoption being a popular, and adaptation being a literary or learned process; finally, there is formation, i.e. the " combination of existing words (foreign or native) or parts of words with each other or with living formatives, i.e. syllables which no longer exist as separate words, but yet have an appreciable signification which they impart to the new product " (see Introduction to the Oxford New English Dictionary, p. xx). A further classification of words according to their origin is that into (I) naturals, i.e. purely native words, like " mother," " father," " house "; (2) those which become perfectly naturalized, though of foreign origin, like " cat," " mutton," " beef "; (3) denizens, words naturalized in usage but keeping the foreign pronunciation, spelling and inflections, e.g. " focus," " camera "; (4) aliens, words for foreign things, institutions, offices, &c., for which there is no English equivalent, e.g., menu, table d'hote, impi, lakh, mollah, tarbush; (5) casuals, e.g., bloc, Ausgleich, sabotage, differing only from " aliens " in their temporary use. The full etymology of a word should include the phonetic descent, the source of the word, whether from a native or from a foreign origin, and, if the latter, whether by adoption or adaptation, or, if a formed word, the origin of the parts which go to make it up. In the present edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica such full etymologies, which would be necessary and in place in an etymological dictionary, have not been given in every instance, but brief etymological notes are appended, showing in outline the sources and history, and in many cases the development in meaning. (See also DICTIONARY.) EU, a town of north-western France, in the department of Seine-Inferieure, on the river Bresle, 64 m. N.N.E. of Rouen on the Western railway, and 2 m. E.S.E. of Le Treport, at the mouth of the Bresle, which is canalized between the two towns. Pop. (1906) 4865. The extensive forest of Eu lies to the south-east of the town. Eu has three buildings of importance—the beautiful Gothic church of St Laurent (12th and 13th centuries) of which the exterior of the choir with its three tiers of ornamented buttressing and the double arches between the pillars of the nave are architecturally notable; the chapel of the Jesuit college (built about 1625), in which are the tombs of Henry, third duke of Guise, and his wife, Katherine of Cleves; and the chateau. The latter was begun by Henry of Guise in 1578, in place of an older chateau burnt by Louis XI. in 1475 to prevent its capture by the English. It was continued by Mademoiselle de Montpensier in the latter half of the 17th century, and restored by Louis Philippe who, in 1843 and 1845, received Queen Victoria within its walls. In 1902 the greater part of the building was destroyed by fire. The town has a tribunal of commerce and a communal college, flour-mills, manufactories of earthenware, biscuits, furniture, casks, and glass and brick works; the port has trade in grain, timber, hemp, flax, &c. Eu (Augusta) was in existence under the Romans. The first line of its counts, supposed to be descended from the dukes of Normandy, had as heiress Alix (died 1227), who married Raoul (Ralph) de Lusignan, known as the Sire d'Issoudun from his lordship of that name. Through their grand-daughter Marie, the countship of Eu passed by marriage to the house of Brienne, two members of which, both named Raoul, were constables of France. King John confiscated the countship in 1350, and gave it to John of Artois (1352). His great-grandson, Charles, son of Philip of Artois, count of Eu, and Marie of Berry, played a conspicuous part in the Hundred Years' War. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt (1415), and remained in England twenty-three years, in accordance with the dying injunctions of Henry V. that he was not to be let go until his son, Henry VI., was of age to govern his dominions. He accompanied Charles VII. on his campaigns in Normandy and Guyenne, and was made lieutenant-general of these two provinces. It was he who effected a reconciliation between the king and the dauphin after the revolt of the latter. He was created a peer of France in 1458, and made governor of Paris during the war of the League of the Public Weal (1465). He died on the 15th of July 1472 at the age of about seventy-eight, leaving no children. His sister's son, John of Burgundy, count of Nevers, now received the countship, which passed through heiresses, in the 15th century, to the house of Cleves, and to that of Lorraine-Guise. In 166o Henry II. of Lorraine, duke of Guise, sold it to " Mademoiselle," Anne Marie Louise d'Orleans, duchesse de Montpensier (q.v.), who made it over (1682) to the duke of Maine, bastard son of Louis XIV., as part of the price of the release of her lover Lauzun. The second son of the duke of Maine, Louis Charles de Bourbon (17o1-1775), bore the title of count of Eu. In 1755 he inherited from his elder brother, Louis Auguste de Bourbon (1700-1755), prince de Dombes, great estates, part of which he sold to the king. The remainder, which was still considerable, passed to his cousin the duke of Penthievre. These estates were confiscated at the Revolution; but at the Restoration they were bestowed by Louis XVII. on the duchess-dowager of Orleans who, in 1821, bequeathed them to her son, afterwards King Louis Philippe. They were again confiscated in 1852, but were restored to the Orleans family by the National Assembly after the Franco-German War. The title of count of Eu was revived in the 19th century in favour of the eldest son of the duke of Nemours, second son of King Louis Philippe.
End of Article: ETYMOLOGY (Gr. grvµos, true, and X6yos, "account)
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