modified and abbreviated from W.W. Skeat, 1879

1. Before attempting an etymology, ascertain the earliest form and use of the word; and observe chronology.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
1 Like

This one could save a few people a lot of trouble.

1 Like

Very helpful, concise and precise. As an amateur etymologist (esp. in the Germanic family) for the last four decades, the one part of the seven canons I would highlight is, “Truly cognate words ought not to be too much alike.” Probably the single biggest error I’ve made over the years is assuming common ancestry between similar forms without being rigorous about sound changes. Borrowing is almost always the answer.