ETYMOLOGY

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ETYMOLOGY (from the Greek hvno\oyia, from ervfiog, true, real, and Xoyos, word); that branch of philology which teaches the origin of words, traces the laws by which the changes in languages take place, and discovers the true meanings of words by examining their roots and composition. It is at once the delicia philologica, and a safeguard against the corruption of words by a careless application of them. Etymology becomes particularly interesting when applied to those languages which are not so much the product of accident as of settled laws, which continue to operate as long as the language exists. Etymology has not unfrequently led to important historical conjectures, because the language of a tribe is often the only record of its descent, the individuals composing it having lost all tradition of their origin. Who can doubt the importance of etymology, taking it in its widest sense, as treating of the origin and nature of words, and of the connexions of different languages; in short, as occupied with the laws which regulate the formation of languages, which stand preeminent among the most interesting, important and noble productions of the human mind? To be a sound etymologist, requires many rare qualifications, among which are a thorough knowledge of many and veiy different languages; great caution, which will not be^asily led astray by appearances; a philosophical mind, which easily conceives the associations of ideas, and traces the different, yet connected notions which the same root expresses in different languages; in one language representing, perhaps, the most concrete, and in another the most abstract idea; a perfect knowledge of phonology, or the science of human sounds, and the organs which produce them, and a natural taste and adaptation for the study, which, like every gift of nature, may be much devel oped, but cannot be produced by labor Etymology has been cultivated with much zeal and success in our day, as illustrative both of single languages (how much, fo* instance, has Buttmann done for Greek etymology), and of the relations between whole families of languages. Modern scholars have been assisted in their researches in this department, not merely by the materials which former ages have accumulated, but by the great advancement which has been made in the knowledge of languages before unknown, owing to the more frequent and rapid communication between the most distant parts of the globe, to materials collected by missionaries, &c. In general, it may be said that the Germans have done more for etymojogy than any other nation; while, comparatively speaking, veiy little has been done by the English, whom almost every word in their language conducts into a foreign country, and with whom it might be supposed etymology would be much more generally cultivated than with a nation like the Germans, whose language forms a whole in itself, the words of which explain each other as far as common use requires. Etymology might be divided into the higher and lower, as we have the higher and lower mathematics, and it might, perhaps, be correct to say, that higher etymology examines the origin of the root of a certain word, its connexions with corresponding words in other languages, &c, and that it treats only of the higher laws of the formation of languages ; but, of course, the line of distinction between these two> divisions cannot be very accurately drawn. As an instance of our meaning, let us trace the origin of disagreeableness; ness is an affix frequent in substantives, corresponding to the German niss, and indicating a state, effect, or abstraction; a syllable which is to be found in some shape or other in all Teutonic dialects; dis (the Latin dis, asunder), a prefix often of the same meaning as the English un. convevinir the idea phony must be always count, and letters whic for the sake of improv be thrown aside. As a may take the word la of a substantive, law, corresponding to the ( which is also used as then the meaning of c Ibsen, to loosen, to s probably, with the La the Greek Xvaai, >u£av, with the Swedish losa^ and the AngloSaxon U is a root which we reco ponding word, or connt many languages, Tei Greek, and probably }. besides, connected witl to lay, to lay down, wl the lagjan of UJphilas J lation of the Bible, th the Swedish lagga, the is also connected with locare. The French i from the Latin lex, as Gaul received laws i state from the Romans conquered Gaul, and 1 genitive legis, loy and originated. It is to.be rived languages, as t] &c, very often form from the genitives of th as the Italian Giove ol EUBCEA. (See JVegr EUCHARIST (from t] thanksgiving, from cv, w the name for the Lord the Scriptures inform i having taken the wine them (or gave thanks), and Corpus Christi.) EUCHLORINE. (See EUCLID, called thea considerable distance from Athens, and its inhabitants were forbidden, under penalty of death, to enter the Athenian territories, he used to go to the city in disguise, in the evening, to enjoy the instruction of Socrates, and return at daybreak. He afterwards deviated from the simple system of his teacher, and changed his plain irony into the most subtle disputation. With the Eleatics, he maintained that there was but one being in the universe; and this being he called the true and good. For its subtilty and disputativeness his school was also called the Eristic school. He died 424 B. C. Eubulides was one of his pupils. EUDiEMONISM, EUDJEMONOLOGY ; the doctrine of happiness, or that system which makes human happiness its prime object, the highest motive of every duty, and of a virtuous life, and consequently the whole foundation of morals. Eudcemonism is contradistinguished to that morality or pure system of philosophy, which makes virtue itself the chief object, independent of its tendency to promote human happiness. Eudamonist; one who supports the doctrine of Eudsemonism.