English Online
Eva Easton is good people. She was the first to link this site. And the first to advise me you can't make any simoleans doing this

Linguist-Educator Exchange
Gina Cooke, a linguist in education, "strives to provide accurate linguistic information and reliable logical strategies for teachers and learners of the English language in search of evidence about English and its instruction." She strives not in vain.

"The podcast for word lovers," hosted by Charles Hogdson, offering a word root every day.

A venerable (in Internet terms) full-service site devoted to origins of English words and phrases and English usage. The forum is helpful and newbie-friendly.

English Language and Usage
Seems to be holding its own in the elusive quest to sustain an etymology message board that does not decay into smug smacked-assery or kakistocratic crack-pottery.

A fine blog by a linguist whose interest reach beyond the mere words. The "links" bar is one of the best for language resources.

Language-related musings by Welsh blogger and linguist Simon Ager.

Things to be Happy About
Website of linguist Barbara Ann Kipfer, who edited the most recent edition of the "Dictionary of American Slang."

Digital Medievalist
Celtic Studies Resources from a self-described "opinionated digital medievalist."

mots & merveilles des langues d'ici & d'ailleurs une sélection des meilleurs dictionnaires en ligne

Language Dictionaries and Translators

Oxford English Dictionary
The best there is, but you gotta pay to play

Johnson's Dictionary
An abridged, "improved" 1828 American edition

Alphabet Evolution
A Semitic script nicked by the Greeks, stripped down to fit Etruscan, and somehow we try to write with this


Chinese Characters
Contains the complete text of "Chinese Characters: A Genealogy and Dictionary," which uses the new (zipu) system of character trees.

Chinese Etymology
"When I was a young man of 22 in Taiwan trying to become fluent and literate in Chinese, I was faced with the prospect of learning to write about 5000 characters and 60,000 character combinations. The characters were complex with many strokes and almost no apparent logic. I found on the rare occasions when I could get a step by step evolution of the character from its original form, with an explanation of its original meaning and an interpretation of its original form, suddenly it would become apparent how all the strokes had come to be. The problem is that there is no book in English that adequately explains this etymology and even if you read Chinese there is no single book in Chinese that explains it all."

Italian Etymology
A searchable online version of the 1907 "Vocabolario Etimologico della Lingua Italiana" by Ottorino Pianigiani.

English-Persian Etymological Dictionary of Astronomy and Astrophysics
"Aims at contributing to the Persian language by creating a comprehensive dictionary of astronomy and astrophysics."

Svenska Akademiens Ordbok
Excellent online Swedish etymology source.

The German etymological dictionary of the Brothers Grimm
Das Deutsche Wörterbuch von Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm auf CD-ROM und im Internet.

Alphabetical list of German surnames and explanations of their origin and meaning

Behind the Name
Etymology of first names.

Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew
Web site for a book on etymologies of multisourced words in various languages, e.g. English, Israeli, Hebrew, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Yiddish and Arabic.

Word Spy
Recently coined words and phrases.

French Etymology

Old English Library

Sumerian Language Page
So very strange.


Word Stuff
Writing Links and Links for Writers.

The King's English
A classic work on usage by H.W. Fowler.

Just About Write
An excellent site full of good advice on writing and publishing.


Ladle Rat Rotten Hut
An Anguish Languish lesson as originated by Professor Howard L. Chace, performed live by actor Drew Letchworth.

Speculative Grammarian
The premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics.

Unlikely phrases from real phrasebooks
For those moments when you absolutely, positively need to say "I play the clarinet" in Chinese ("Wô lá danhuángguân").

Lost in Translation
Take a sentence and Babel-ize it! Does to language what Silly Putty does to the Sunday funnies.

Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay, LL. D.
Urban legends of a bygone era. A classic.
You didn't really forward that e-mail, did you?

Anguish Languish
When you need to say the right thing with the wrong words.
No doubt our attempts at Japanese are even more amusing.

Devil's Dictionary
The acid wit of Ambrose Bierce
The library of misheard lyrics

At last! Free and online, the greatest novel ever written without using the letter "E."

Movie Mistakes
Continuity is the hobgoblin of big screens

A classic now available online


Online Work







Missing Pieces
Rounded like a cream-colored cast-iron bank-safe, deep and delicious. I sometimes forget they didn't have it till the end.

She wasn't a dancer, and it wasn't music. She was an elemental force that pulled music into her body and merged both into something more than human.

Earth Day
Environmentalists often share with creationists the utterly unscientific view that the world was set spinning in one complete, harmonious form.

Under the Grass
Memorial Day began not in one place but in many. Hilltop cemeteries across the North, behind old stone churches and meetings, with long views across the farms.

Lincoln on Dissent
The Great Emancipator shows his political skill, in a way Bush and Cheney can only envy and never hope to match, in pulling the rug out from under the Democratic opposition.

Our George
George Washington was the steady hand on the tiller when we set sail as a nation.

Not all of them are soldiers, but the new war sweeps up more than soldiers in its causes. And all believed in something.

Mother Tongues
A dictionary half in an unknown language is a fountain of inspiration.

Old English
It was an English without all the cobweb words. It was an English with far more strong verbs, with their juicy evolutions.

Guy Davenport
He was a brilliant and learned man, but with a warm, salt-of-the-earth, Southern sensibility. Think Pound without the prickly aestheticism and the Ivy League snobbery, without the fascism.

J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien was a devout Catholic. But as a scholar Tolkien was deeply immersed in the pessimistic, pagan world that he studied and taught every day.

© October 10, 2008 Douglas Harper Moe: "Say, what's a good word for scrutiny?" Shemp: "uh ... SCRUTINY!"