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discover the etymology of words

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PyPI version Python versions Wheel Support Documentation Status
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Recently, @jmsv and @parker57 started a side project to analyse etymologies of text written by various historical authors, expecting there to already be a library for retrieving etymological data. On discovering that this wasn't the case, ety was created!

There isn't a single source of truth for etymologies; words' origins can be heavily disputed. This package's source data, Gerard de Melo's Etymological Wordnet, is mostly mined from Wiktionary. Since this is a collaboratively edited dictionary, its data could be seen as the closest we can get to a public consensus.



pip install ety


In a virtual environment - Pipenv is recommended:

python install



>>> import ety

[Word(batata, language=Taino)]

>>>"drink", recursive=True)
[Word(drync, language=Old English (ca. 450-1100)), Word(drinken, language=Middle English (1100-1500)), Word(drincan, language=Old English (ca. 450-1100))]

>>> print(ety.tree("aerodynamically"))
aerodynamically (English)
├── -ally (English)
└── aerodynamic (English)
    ├── aero- (English)
       └── ἀήρ (Ancient Greek (to 1453))
    └── dynamic (English)
        └── dynamique (French)
            └── δυναμικός (Ancient Greek (to 1453))
                └── δύναμις (Ancient Greek (to 1453))
                    └── δύναμαι (Ancient Greek (to 1453))


After installing, a command-line tool is also available. ety -h outputs the following help text describing arguments:

usage: ety [-h] [-r] [-t] words [words ...]

positional arguments:
  words            the search word(s)

optional arguments:
  -h, --help       show this help message and exit
  -r, --recursive  search origins recursively
  -t, --tree       display etymology tree


$ ety drink
drink   # List direct origins
 • drync (Old English (ca. 450-1100))
 • drinken (Middle English (1100-1500))

$ ety drink -r   # Recursive search
 • drync (Old English (ca. 450-1100))
 • drinken (Middle English (1100-1500))
 • drincan (Old English (ca. 450-1100))

$ ety drink -t   # Etymology tree
drink (English)
├── drinken (Middle English (1100-1500))
│   └── drincan (Old English (ca. 450-1100))
└── drync (Old English (ca. 450-1100))

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