etymology (Q21894)

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    the history and origin of a lexical unit (word or phase). In print dictionaries, the etymologies are usually given in abbreviated form, for example, for cabbage from Concise Oxford Dictionary: ME: from OFr. dial. caboche ‘head’, var. of OFr. caboce.
    study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time