Saturday, June 30, 2012

Link of the Week: Online Etymology Dictionary

Friday's windstorm knocked me offline for about 15 hours, including when I would have normally been composing this post. Sorry that it's going up late. (And, yes, I did manage to write yesterday evening despite the power outage. My netbook was charged, so I was able to write on it, sitting by myself in the dark!)

Every Saturday, I'll be highlighting one link -- it could be a blog post, a book, a website, or anything else -- and explaining why I think that link is useful for writers trying to develop and maintain a daily writing routine. Unlike my Sunday Links posts on my general writing blog, I won't restrict myself to brand new links. Whatever I find that I think is worth sharing will be fair game.

This week's link is the Online Etymology Dictionary. This site has tens of thousands of entries about the history of various words and phrases. It's useful for understanding where certain terms come from and also the general time they came into usage. The latter is especially helpful if you're writing something set in the past and want to ensure you're not creating anachronisms in your work.

As far as it helping people write every day, I also view this site as being a source of possible writing prompts. For example, the entry for "jubilee" reads in part: "The original notion was of a year of emancipation of slaves and restoration of lands, to be celebrated every 50th year..." That concept seems ripe for a science-fictional (or fantasy) story where that original meaning of jubilee is revisited in an alien (or fantastical) society.

It's a fascinating site and a fantastic resource. If you haven't checked it out, I'd encourage you to do so. Just try not to get lost browsing it!

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