It has always been interesting for me to know how words are made and where they are coming from. Is there any reliable source for etymological studies? any books, or dictionaries out there?
The basic sources of this work are Weekley's "An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English," Klein's "A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language," "Oxford English Dictionary" (second edition), "Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology," Holthausen's "Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Englischen Sprache," and Kipfer and Chapman's "Dictionary of American Slang."
Designed as the lexical companion to Wikipedia, the encyclopaedia project, Wiktionary has grown beyond a standard dictionary and now includes a thesaurus, a rhyme guide, phrase books, language statistics and extensive appendices. We aim to include not only the definition of a word, but also enough information to really understand it. Thus etymologies, pronunciations, sample quotations, synonyms, antonyms and translations are included.
- Online Etymology Dictionary
- Google Books, set date range and sort by date*
- Google Ngram Viewer
- Bill Mullins has a giant list of Full Text Databases
- Internet Archive
- Project Gutenberg
- HathiTrust Digital Library
- Topsy for Tweets
- The Right Rhymes: hop-hop slang defined
- Rap Stats by Rap Genius gives an idea of earliest use, but cannot be searched by time
- AU, US, NZ: Elephind (1787-2016) collates CA, Trove, PP and more
- USA: Chronicling America (1836-1922) by the Library of Congress
- Australia: Trove (-1954) by the National Library of Australia
- New Zealand: Papers Past (1839-1945) by the Nation Library of New Zealand
Particularly for computing terms:
- Google Groups for Usenet archives (also good for slang) (1981 - present)
- DSpace@MIT for the CSAIL archives (1959 - present)
- IETF's RFC archive (1969 - present)
- PDP-10 software archive (~1967 - ~1990), for old source code
- Tech Model Railroad Club dictionary, TMRC 1st & 2nd editions (1959, 1960)
- The Jargon File and its archives (also here) (1981 - 2003)
- MIT's The Tech newspaper archives (1881 - present)
Bitsavers' Software and PDF Document Archive (misc. dates)
* Care must be taken with Google Books' metadata, especially when only a snippet is shown: occasionally the book was published later than the the year Google claims it was, and sometimes they accidentally include multiple books for each record.
Therefore it's important to double check the date: scroll up to confirm the real date for "full view" books, and for preview/"snippet view" verify with another source (such as the Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg or the HathiTrust Digital Library).