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Etymologies of wellbeing: Exploring the non-English roots of English words used in positive psychology

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Mainstream psychology can be considered relatively Western-centric, as reflected in the fact that its discourse and theorising is mainly in English, influencing how it conceptualises its subject matter. However, English itself is a complex product of multiple cultural influences, including the widespread borrowing of words from other languages. To shed light on this issue, this paper conducted an etymological analysis of a sample of words in psychology-focusing as a case study on a seminal article in positive psychology. The analysis identified 1333 lexemes, of which more than 60% can be regarded as loanwords (i.e., borrowed from other languages). The analysis shows the great cultural influences that have combined to form English, and hence psychology, yet also the extent to which this influence has been limited to certain cultures. The paper thus illustrates how psychology has benefitted from insights forged in other languages, but moreover how it might continue to do so through more systematic and comprehensive forms of cross-cultural engagement.
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Etymologies of wellbeing:
Exploring the non-English roots of English words used in positive psychology
Tim Lomas
The Journal of Positive Psychology
Note: This is not the final version of the article in The Journal of Positive Psychology.
It is not the copy of record.
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Abstract
Mainstream psychology can be considered relatively Western-centric, as reflected in the fact
that its discourse and theorising is mainly in English, influencing how it conceptualises its
subject matter. However, English itself is a complex product of multiple cultural influences,
including the widespread borrowing of words from other languages. To shed light on this
issue, this paper conducted an etymological analysis of a sample of words in psychology
focusing as a case study on a seminal article in positive psychology. The analysis identified
1333 lexemes, of which more than 60% can be regarded as loanwords (i.e., borrowed from
other languages). The analysis shows the great cultural influences that have combined to form
English, and hence psychology, yet also the extent to which this influence has been limited to
certain cultures. The paper thus illustrates how psychology has benefitted from insights
forged in other languages, but moreover how it might continue to do so through more
systematic and comprehensive forms of cross-cultural engagement.
Keywords: language; etymology; positive psychology; wellbeing
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Introduction
Among the criticisms often levelled against psychology is that the field is relatively Western-
centric, and would therefore benefit from greater cross-cultural sensitivity and engagement
(Henrich, Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010). As an example, research and theorising is mainly
conducted in English, which influences the field’s conceptualisation and understanding of its
subject matter (Lomas, 2018). Intriguingly though, these claims are both challenged and
supported by considerations of the nature of English itself. As this paper will show, English
like most languages is something of a multi-cultural “melting pot,” heavily shaped by
influences and imports from across the globe. That is, English and psychology too therefore
has evolved by “borrowing” words from other cultures to enrich its lexicon. To an extent,
this slightly punctures the charges of psychology as being insular and Western-centric, since
other cultures have played a historical role in bringing the field into being. At the same time
though, such considerations corroborate claims that the field would benefit from greater
cross-cultural engagement. Given that the field, and English more broadly, has been greatly
augmented by concepts imported from other languages, a strong case can thus be made for
further such engagement, and the incorporation of even more ideas from across the globe.
This paper will explore these ideas by conducting an etymological analysis of words
used in psychology, focusing as a case study on the topic of wellbeing. Specifically, a sample
of words from the area of positive psychology will be analysed, with the sample comprising
the words used in a Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s (2000) seminal and foundational paper,
Positive Psychology: An Introduction, published in American Psychologist. First though, to
contextualise the analysis, this introduction will further outline the premise of the paper. It
begins by making the case that psychology is relatively Western-centric, focusing specifically
on English as its hegemonic mode of discourse. However, our attention will then turn to the
origins and development of English itself, showing that it emerged and evolved through the
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confluence of multiple cultural and linguistic sources, a process which has necessarily shaped
the field of psychology.
Psychology as Western-Centric
Scholarship is inevitably influenced by the cultural contexts in which it is conducted. In that
respect, given that psychology is practised across the globe, one might speak of multiple
“ethnopsychologies.” These can be identified at various scales, from the transnational, such
as Western ethnopsychology (Wierzbicka, 1989), through the national (Kohrt & Maharjan,
2009) to the subnational (Lutz, 1985). However, over the second half of the 20th century,
Western ethnopsychology, and more specifically American ethnopsychology, has come to
dominate the field as a whole (academic psychology as an international endeavour). Indeed,
such is the hegemony of American ethnopsychology that its cultural specificity is often
overlooked and it is instead regarded uncritically as psychology in toto (Pickren, 2009). An
influential analysis of these power dynamics was provided by Danziger (2006): before the
Second World War were various centres of knowledge and practice, including Berlin,
Cambridge, and Chicago, as well as peripheral locations where such knowledge/practice was
reproduced. However, the post-war economic, military, and cultural dominance of the United
States meant that American psychology was exported globally, effectively becoming the sole
centre, to the extent that the qualifier “American” soon became erased as superfluous.
Consequently, concepts, ideologies, priorities, and methods associated with American
psychology came to dominate the international scene.
One aspect of this dominance is that (American) English has become the default
language for the field, constituting most of its literature and discourse (e.g., at conferences).
As a result, most of its ideas and theories are structured around the contours of the English
language. This linguistic bias is an issue, since the knowledge developed within the field is
therefore to an extent provincial and culturally-specific. This claim can be understood
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through the prism of the “linguistic relativity hypothesis (LRH). The idea that culture, via
language, influences thought can be traced back at least as far as Herder (1772), who argued
that differences in the mentalities of individual countries derived in large part from the nature
of their language. In the modern era, these ideas found their most prominent articulation with
the anthropologist Sapir (1929) and his student Whorf (1940), to the extent that the LHR is
sometimes referred to as the “Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.” As per the general tenets of the
LHR, they argued that language plays a constitutive role in the way people experience and
understand life. As Whorf (1956) put it, “We dissect nature along lines laid out by our native
languages… The world is presented as a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be
organized… largely by the linguistic systems in our minds” (pp. 213-214). Such linguistic
parsing takes two main forms: grammatical structure and lexical content. The most impactful
relativity effects are generally thought to pertain to the former, since grammar structures are
arguably more foundational to the mind than lexical frameworks, which essentially fit within
the structures provided by grammar (Lucy, 1996). For instance, Whorf argued that the Hopi
have a different experience of time in contrast to Western cultures due to particularities in
their grammar, which he appraised as lacking a linear sense of past, present and future. That
said, lexical variation is still impactful epistemologically, influencing the ideas and categories
people use to conceptualise and understand the world.
The LHR has of course generated much debate over the decades, with a wealth of
empirical research delving into its intricacies. A prominent example is the phenomenon of
colour perception, which has attracted considerable attention ever since the Cambridge
expedition to the Torres Straits, where scholars observed that colour-term inventories vary
across languages (Rivers, 1901). This does not merely mean that cultures differ in how they
parse the colour spectrum (e.g., segmenting it into more or fewer categories). Theorists such
as Lucy (1997) drawing on anthropological scholars like Conklin (1955) point to cross-
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cultural differences in what is meant by colour itself. For instance, whereas in English, colour
terms identify properties such as hue, saturation, and brightness, those in other languages can
also pertain to properties like lustre, luminosity, and reflectance, and thus capturing different
dimensions altogether (such as succulence versus desiccation). Davies and Corbett (1997)
suggest that scholarship up to the 1970s was dominated by a strongly relativist perspective, in
which colour perception was regarded as being heavily influenced by cultural conditioning.
Then came a surge of work taking a more universalist perspective, which held that lexical
differences vis-à-vis colour are superficial, with considerable cross-cultural communality in
colour perception (Franklin, Clifford, Williamson, & Davies, 2005). The debate continues,
with various scholars leaning towards one of these two perspectives, but most scholars agree
that culture has at least some influence on people’s perception and understanding of colour.
The central point here though is not merely that people from different cultures may differ in
their experience and conceptualisation of colour (and indeed all aspects of life). It is that
these differences apply to psychologists themselves, and therefore to the field of psychology.
That is, the LRH has bearing on scholarship itself, influencing phenomena such as the
nomological network of concepts in a given field. An endeavour such as psychology will by
necessity be influenced and moreover restricted by the lexical tools at its disposal which, in
the case of psychology, is mainly the lexical landscape of English, as argued above. Concepts
that have been identified and articulated in English may become objects of interest and study.
However, the LRH posits that there may be aspects or dimensions of life that have not been
lexicalised in English for whatever reason. We see that in the case of “untranslatable” words,
terms which lack an exact equivalent in a given language, such as English (Lomas, 2018). For
various complex reasons including geography, climate, and tradition another culture may
have identified and labelled a phenomenon that has been overlooked by English-speaking
cultures; as such, that culture will have a signifier which English lacks. In such instances,
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psychology is unlikely to take that phenomenon as a focus of study; in some sense, it would
not “exist” as a topic of concern. In ways such as this, psychology is constrained by the
boundaries and limitations of the English language. This corroborates the argument that
psychology is relatively Western-centric, and would thus benefit from a greater degree of
cross-cultural sensitivity and engagement (Henrich et al., 2010).
However, even as we recognise the validity of this point, we can also turn our critical
attention to English itself. As we shall see, this has a complex provenance, and in many ways
is already the fruit of a great degree of cross-cultural cross-fertilisation.
The Roots of English
The roots of English lie in the Proto-Germanic languages, which are part of the broader Indo-
European language family. Although the historical details and dates are speculative and much
debated, according to Grant (2009), many scholars agree that the Proto-Germanic languages
began to diversify from the Indo-European tree around 500 BCE, with North-Western
Germanic splitting off soon after, followed a few hundred years later by West Germanic.
What we now call English subsequently emerged from this latter diversification, dating from
the migration of three Germanic tribes the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes to the British
Isles around the 5th Century CE. As the Anglo-Saxons subsequently became dominant in
England, their West Germanic language supplanted the extant languages of Roman Britain
(e.g., Latin and Brittonic). Ever since, this emergent “English” language has undergone
considerable evolution, through three main phases: Old English (circa 450 1100 CE);
Middle English (circa 1100-1500); and Modern English (split into Early Modern English,
circa 1500-1800, and Late Modern English, to the present day). This evolution partly
involved shifting patterns in features of language use such as pronunciation. However, much
of the process involved lexicalisation, i.e., adding new words and phrases to the lexicon.
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Such lexicalisation generates two key questions for our purposes here: where from,
and why? Regarding the former, sometimes lexicalisation involves coining new words (often
by combining existing morphemes in novel ways), or perhaps adapting existing words in
innovative ways. An example of the latter is the notion of boredom, which entered the
language when Charles Dickens (1853) creatively deployed the verb to bore i.e., pierce or
wear down to depict Lady Dedlock’s apathetic state. Often however, words are “borrowed”
from other languages. Indeed, in one sense this applies to Old English as a whole, which
mostly constitutes the importation of an entire West Germanic lexicon. The Norman invasion
from 1066 onwards then inaugurated a new phase of language development labelled Middle
English as the conquerors brought their own French language to the British Isles (Rothwell,
1998). The result was a temporary linguistic class division, with the upper echelons of society
switching to French, and the lower classes remaining with Old English. Eventually, English
regained dominance, but now with many French words added. Of course, French itself had
roots in, and borrowings from, other languages, like Latin and Arabic, just as these languages
too had their own sources, such as the Greek influence upon Latin (Grant, 2009). Then, the
phase of Modern English saw direct borrowing from many languages as these became more
widely available in published works, particularly Greek and Latin words. This process also
saw the creation of neologisms e.g., for new inventions some of which combined lexemes
from multiple languages, such as television, which joined the Greek stem tele (i.e., far off) to
the Latin visio (the act of seeing).
Indeed, English truly is a melting pot of borrowed words. Of the more than 600,000
lexemes in the Oxford English Dictionary, the percentage of borrowed words those which
cannot be taken back to the earliest known stages of a language” (Lehmann, 1962, p.212),
namely Old English in the present case is estimated at between 32% (Durkin, 2014) and
41% (Tadmor, 2009). This figure is among the highest in a selection of languages analysed
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by Tadmor (2009) (with the highest being 62% for Selice Romany, and the lowest being
1.2% for Mandarin). With English, these words have been borrowed from a great range of
sources. An analysis by Grant (2009) indicated that of the total number of English lexemes,
approximately 25% were borrowed directly from French, 8% from Latin, 3.5% from Old
Norse, 1.3% from Dutch and Middle-Low German, and 2% from Greek. A remaining 3.5%
were borrowed from various other languages, from Arabic (e.g., zero, via Italian) to Sanskrit
(e.g., pepper, via Greek and Latin).
Collectively, these borrowings are referred to as loanwords (Durkin, 2014). However,
more specific terminology has also been developed to reflect the notion that loanwords can be
at different stages of the borrowing process. Appropriately enough, linguists themselves
deploy loanwords (from German) to depict these varying levels of assimilation: gastwört
(guest-word), fremdwört (foreignisms), and lehnwört (loanwords proper) (Cannon & Kaye,
1994). Least assimilated are gastwört, words whose status as a foreign term is still clear;
deploying immigration terminology, the OED used to refer to these as “aliens” (in contrast to
fremdwört, which were labelled “denizens,” and lehnwört, which were deemed “naturals”).
These words, which largely retain the pronunciation, orthography, grammar and meaning
they have in their donor language, are usually limited to specialist vocabularies, and are
italicized when used. More assimilated are fremdwört, which have been welcomed into the
language as a stable part of the lexicon, but which are nevertheless still consciously regarded
as foreign words. Finally, lehnwört loanwords proper are those whose assimilation into
the host language is essentially complete. Speakers tend not to regard, or even recognise,
these as being of foreign origin; they are indistinguishable from the rest of the lexicon, and
open to normal rules of word use and formation. Strictly speaking, loanwords are a case of
lexical borrowing one type of a more general phenomenon of borrowing in that they are
words (i.e., lexemes) rather than phrases, and usually constitute unanalysable units in the
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recipient language (Haspelmath, 2009). That is, the corresponding word source in the
donating language can be complex or even phrasal, but this complex internal structure is
usually lost when it enters the host language. That said, if sufficient numbers of semantically-
related complex words enter a language, it may be possible for speakers to appreciate their
morphological structure. This is frequently the case with neoclassical compounds using
Greek or Latin (e.g., where English speakers may come to understand that words featuring
the Greek root ethno- all relate to nationhood in some way).
The foregoing addresses the issue of where words are borrowed from, but arguably
the more compelling question is why words are borrowed. Haspelmath (2009) identifies two
main reasons, which he labels as “core” versus “cultural” borrowings. The former is when a
loanword replicates a word that already exists in the recipient language. This may happen for
sociolinguistic reasons, such as the cultural capital associated with using foreign words
(Blank, 1999). Even more intriguing though is the phenomenon of “cultural” borrowings.
Haspelmath describes these as “loanwords by necessity,” where the recipient language lacks
its own word for the referent in question with the foreign word thus being untranslatable, as
elucidated above. This might occur, for instance, when a new invention, practice, or idea is
introduced to a culture. Thus, in the absence of an appropriate native word or a new word
being coined the loanword is taken up because it is cognitively and socially useful, allowing
speakers to articulate ideas they had previously struggled to. In Lehrer’s (1974) terminology,
such words fill “semantic gaps,” namely “the lack of a convenient word to express what [one]
wants to speak about” (p.105). Such gaps are what make words untranslatable, indicating
phenomena that have been overlooked or undervalued by one’s own culture, but which
another culture has identified and labelled. As a result, a borrowed word can fill a semantic
gap. For instance, analysing loanword adoption across languages, Tadmor (2009) found that
most borrowed words belong to categories susceptible to the introduction of novel ideas and
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practices, such as religion and belief (of which 41% of English words are loanwords), and
clothing and grooming (39%). By contrast, aspects of life less susceptible to such innovation
have far less borrowing, such as the body (14%), spatial relations (14%) and sense perception
(11%). That is, semantic gaps are less likely to arise in relation to phenomena which are
common across cultures, such as bodily structures and processes. By contrast, phenomena
more subject to creativity and innovation such as belief systems are more likely to have
culturally specific elements; this, in turn, means that other cultures may have semantic gaps
in relation to these elements, necessitating the borrowing of loanwords.
Thus, English has been greatly enriched over the centuries by the importation of
loanwords. These have augmented the lexicon with respect to all areas of life, enhancing
English-speakers ability to conceptualise and understand any given phenomenon. This
process of enhancement applies to all realms of existence, including our understating of mind
and behaviour a realm of knowledge which in recent centuries has come to be known as
“psychology.” Indeed, this process applies to the concept of psychology itself, which is a
complex product of multiple cultural sources and phases of invention. Its roots are the Greek
terms psykhe (which in the classical era encompassed meanings such as breath, spirit, and
soul) and logia (referring to the study of a given phenomenon). However, the term is widely
believed to have been coined in the mid-16th century using Latinised versions of the Greek
roots by Philip Melanchthon, a German Lutheran theologian, to describe the “study of the
soul” (i.e., in a religious/spiritual context) (Pitkin, 2004). That said, these origins remain a
matter of some debate, with other scholars also given credit by some (Brock, 2015). The
term’s usage in a more strictly psychological sense, i.e., the study of the mind, is similarly
contested, especially given that consideration of the mind has long been the province of
philosophers and theologians. However, this specifically psychological usage untethered
from philosophical or religious discourse is widely regarded as being popularised in the 18th
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century with the publication of Christian Wolff’s Psychologia Empirica in 1737 (Richards,
1980). Even then, English-speaking scholars still tended to use the term “mental philosophy
to describe the study and understanding of the mind, and it was not until the mid-19th century
that the Anglicised term “psychology” began to be widely adopted through the influence of
scholars such as William Hamilton (Danziger, 1997).
The entire modern psychological lexicon is the product of a similarly rich and
complex etymological history. Thus, in the interests of shedding light on these developmental
processes, the present paper conducts an etymological excavation of a selection of words in
the field. To render the enquiry manageable and focused given that the field spans a vast
arena of discourse it concentrates on one particular topic, namely wellbeing. Specifically, it
focuses on wellbeing as seen through the prism of positive psychology this being the
author’s own area of scholarship which can broadly be defined as the scientific study of
wellbeing (Lomas, Hefferon, & Ivtzan, 2015). This relatively new paradigm/discipline was
initiated at the turn of the millennium, drawing on such roots as humanistic psychology, but
with an explicit rationale of bringing more “positive” topics to the fore in mainstream
psychology. These origins are articulated in Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s (2000) seminal
paper, Positive Psychology: An Introduction, published in American Psychologist, which
inaugurated the new endeavour. This paper was therefore selected here to provide the sample
of words under consideration, as outlined below.
Methods
The aim of the paper is to conduct an etymological analysis of words used in psychology.
Since the field comprises a huge realm of discourse, this endeavour was made feasible by
delimiting it in several ways. First, the choice was made to restrict the focus to the topic of
wellbeing, as seen through the prism of positive psychology, as noted above. Then, within
this specific realm of psychology, a sample of discourse was selected through the expedient
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means of choosing one journal article, namely Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi’s (2000)
aforementioned paper Positive Psychology: An Introduction. This was selected on the basis
of being: (a) one of the most influential papers on wellbeing in psychology (initiating positive
psychology); (b) published in one of the foremost psychology journals; and (c) coming out at
the turn of the millennium (so constituting a symbolic marker of our current age). The
approach taken was to identify the etymology of every word in the main text of the article
using the prominent and widely-used online etymology dictionary (www.etymonline.com).
Every word in the main text was entered into the search function of the dictionary.
From the result obtained, several items of data were extracted or extrapolated, and inputted
into one overall table (see supplementary table below). First, the word itself was inputted in
the first column. In general, words were inputted as they appeared in the paper. However,
given that some words featured in the paper multiple times but in slightly different ways (e.g.,
various conjugations of a verb, or an adjective based on a noun), to avoid repetition and
redundancy, in general the table includes only one instance of a given lexeme (with a lexeme
being a basic abstract unit of meaning that exists regardless of the number of inflectional
endings it may permit). To give one example, spirit, spiritual, and spirituality all derive
from the same root (the Latin spiritus), and also all entered English around the same time
(borrowed from French in the 13th century); thus, the table just includes the term spirit. The
exception to this rule was if there were significant difference in either time or meaning
between a lexeme and a related concept. For instance, citizen entered English around the
12th Century (from the French citeien), but citizenship did not appear until the 17th Century
(with the addition of the suffix -ship); as such, these constitute two separate entries in the
table.
The second item of data extracted from the search query and so inputted into the
second column of the table was the grammatical status of the word (e.g., whether a noun,
Etymologies of wellbeing
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verb, etc.). Third, words were classified (by the author) into three conceptual categories:
psychological concepts (those deemed to specifically pertain to the mind and its functions);
general concepts (those which belong to English more broadly); and grammatical terms (e.g.,
those who main function is to clarify relationships between nouns and verbs). Fourth, words
were classified (by the author) into three etymological categories: native (belonging either to
the Germanic languages from which English emerged, or originating in Old English itself);
loanwords (those borrowed from other languages, but which have become assimilated into
the lexicon); guestwords (those borrowed from other languages which are still perceived as
“foreign”); and neologisms (words newly created in English after the Old English era,
generally by combining lexical units in innovative ways). Fifth, the origin language for each
word was registered. Note, this is not necessarily the same as the language from which the
word entered English (which, if different, was noted in the eighth column). For instance,
many words originated in Latin but entered English via French in the wake of the Norman
conquest; in such cases, Latin would be inputted in the fifth column, and French in the eighth.
Sixth, the word as it appeared in its original language was recorded. Seventh, and relatedly,
the meaning of the word in its original language was also noted. If its meaning in English
subsequently diverged significantly from this original meaning, this was indicated in the
table. For instance, the term “downside” entered English in the 17th Century to signify the
underneath of something, and not until the 20th Century did it imply a negative or undesirable
aspect. Eighth, the language from which the term entered English if this differed from the
root language was recorded. Finally, the ninth column shows the general time-period during
which the word entered English with most cases identifying a specific century (and also
more specifically, where possible, whether early, middle, or late century), and in select cases
a particular decade (where such information was available).
Etymologies of wellbeing
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Results
Through the search methods outlined above, 1333 distinct lexemes were identified in the
paper, 160 of which could be deemed psychological concepts (as opposed to general concepts
or grammatical items). The full table of all 1333 items is included as a supplementary table
(since it runs to 34 pages). It features nine columns pertaining to the data of interest outlined
above: (1) the word itself; (2) its grammatical category; (3) its conceptual category; (4) its
etymological category; (5) its origin language; (6) its form in its origin language; (7) its
meaning in its origin language; (8) the language via which it entered English (if different
from its origin language); and (9) the time period in which it entered English. To give an
indication of the data contained in this overall table, a subset is included below as table 2,
featuring only psychological concepts (since these are likely to be of most interest to readers).
Before that though, the tables and figures immediately below this paragraph contain an
analytic summary of the data. The main data of interest here were the origin language of
words and the period in which the words entered English (columns 5 and 9 respectively in
table 2 and the supplementary table). Table 1 below shows the number of words entering
English during its history namely, prior to the 12th Century (column 3), followed by the
subsequent nine centuries from the 12th to the 20th (columns 4 to 12). The data are broken
down by origin language, expressed as a total figure and as a percentage. For both total figure
and percentage, two numbers are offered: the number and percentage of all words (i.e., out of
the total of 1333); and, in parentheses, the number and percentage of psychological words
(i.e., out of 160). The figures for all words are also represented visually in figures 1 and 2:
figure 1 shows the time periods as columns and origin languages as stacks within them, while
figure 2 reverses this, showing the origin languages as columns and time periods as stacks.
Etymologies of wellbeing
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Table 1. Etymological influx of words into English across the centuries
Language
Pre
12c.
12c.
13c.
14c.
15c.
16c.
17c.
18c.
19c.
20c.
Total
Latin
9 (2)
0.6
(1.2)
47 (5)
3.5
(3.1)
90
(11)
6.7
(6.7)
208
(27)
15.5
(16.6)
116
(12)
8.7
(7.4)
73 (7)
5.5
(4.4)
37 (5)
2.7
(3.1)
8 (-)
0.6 (-)
6 (2)
0.4
(1.2)
-
594
(71)
44.5
(44.4)
Germanic
293
(10)
21.9
(6.1)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
293
(10)
21.9
(6.1)
English
50 (5)
3.7
(3.1)
16 (2)
1.2
(1.2)
13 (2)
0.9
(1.2)
13 (1)
0.9
(0.6)
12 (3)
0.9
(1.8)
31 (7)
2.3
(4.3)
34 (9)
2.5
(5.6)
13 (4)
1.0
(2.5)
26 (6)
1.9
(3.7)
26
(11)
1.9
(6.7)
234
(52)
17.5
(31.9)
French
-
-
14 (-)
1.0 (-)
24 (2)
1.8
(1.2)
18 (2)
1.3
(1.2)
8 (1)
0.6
(0.6)
10 (1)
0.7
(0.6)
7 (2)
0.5
(1.2)
7 (2)
0.5
(1.2)
4 (-)
0.4 (-)
2 (1)
0.1
(0.6)
94 (11)
7.0
(6.7)
Greek
-
-
15 (1)
1.1
(0.6)
7 (1)
0.5
(0.6)
28 (5)
2.0
(3.1)
6 (1)
0.4
(0.6)
20 (2)
1.5
(1.2)
12 (1)
0.9
(0.6)
3 (-)
0.2 (-)
3 (1)
0.2
(0.6)
-
-
94 (12)
7.0
(7.4)
German
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (1)
0.1
(0.6)
1 (1)
0.1
(0.6)
2 (-)
0.1 (-)
3 (1)
0.2
(0.6)
2 (1)
0.1
(0.6)
9 (4)
0.7
(2.4)
Old Norse
-
-
2 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
3 (-)
0.3 (-)
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
7 (-)
0.5 (-)
Italian
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
3 (2)
0.2
(1.2)
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
5 (2)
0.4
(1.2)
Arabic
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
Dutch
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
Scottish
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
-
-
-
-
1 (-)
0.1 (-)
All
352
(17)
18.9
(10.4)
94 (8)
7.0
(4.9)
134
(16)
10.0
(9.8)
270
(35)
20.0
(21.5)
143
(17)
10.7
(10.4)
138
(18)
10.3
(11.2)
95 (20)
7.1
(12.5)
34 (6)
2.5
(3.7)
43
(10)
3.2
(6.1)
30
(13)
2.2
(8.0)
1333
(160)
100
(100)
Note. Figures for psychological words are in parentheses. Percentages (which are rounded to 1 decimal place) outside parentheses reflect the
percentage of overall words (n = 1333), and percentages inside parentheses reflect the percentage of psychological words (n = 160).
Etymologies of wellbeing
17
Figure 1. Etymological influx of words into English (by language)
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
Latin Germanic English French Greek Other
Numer of words entering English
Etymological influx (by language)
P-12c. 12c. 13c. 14c. 15c. 16c. 17c. 18c. 19c. 20c.
Etymologies of wellbeing
18
Figure 2. Etymological influx of words into English (by century)
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
P-12c. 12c. 13c. 14c. 15c. 16c. 17c. 18c. 19c. 20c.
Numer of words entering English
Etymological influx (by century)
Latin Germanic English French Greek Other
Etymologies of wellbeing
19
Table 2. Etymologies of psychological words
Word
Category
Type
Word
status
Origin
Original/root
Original meaning
Prox.
source
Date
Affective
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Affect + ive
Affect + ive
20c.
Alert
v., n.,
adv.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Italian
All'erta
To the height (i.e.,
being vigilant)
French
17c.
(e)
1610s
Altruism
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Altruisme
Altrui (of or to
others) + isme
19c.
(m)
1850s
Anger
n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Angaz
To grieve, vex,
distress; to be
vexed at, take
offense with
Old
Norse
12c.
(p)
Anxiety
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Anxietatem
Anguish, anxiety,
solicitude
16c.
(e)
1520s
Appeal
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appellare
To accost, address,
appeal to, summon,
name
French
14c.
(e)
Appetite
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appetitus
Appetite, longing;
desire toward
French
13c.
Attention
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Attentionem
Give heed to;
stretch toward
French
14c.
(l)
Attitude
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Aptitudinem
Tendency,
likelihood
Italian,
t.
French
17c.
(m);
18c. n
Attract
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Attractus
To draw, pull; to
attract
15c.
(e)
Authentic
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Authentikos
Original, genuine,
principal
Latin, t.
French
14c.
(m)
Autonomy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Autonomia
Independence,
freedom
17c.
(e)
1620s
Aware
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Ga-waraz
Watchful, vigilant
12c.
(p)
Belief
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Bileave
Confidence
reposed in a person
or thing
12c.
(l)
Belongingness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Belonging + ness
The quality of
belonging
20c.
Bore
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Buron
N.s. (boredom):
figurative
extension of bore
on the notion of
move forward
slowly and
persistently
12c.
(p);
18c. n
1780s
Character
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Kharakter
Engraved mark;
symbol or imprint
on the soul
French
14c.
(m)
Cognitive
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Cognitive
From Latin
cognit (get to
know, recognize) +
ive
16c.
(l)
1580s
Compulsive
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Compulsus
To drive together,
force
16c.
Concentrate
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Italian
Concentrare
From Latin com
(with, together) +
centrum (centre)
17c.
(e)
1630s
Etymologies of wellbeing
20
Confident
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confidentem
Firmly trusting,
reliant, bold,
daring
French
16c.
(m)
Conscious
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conscious
knowing, aware
17c.
(e)
1610s
Consciousness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Conscious + ness
Conscious + ness;
internal knowledge
17c.
(e)
1630s
Content
adj. n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Contentus
Contained,
satisfied
French
15c.
Courage
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cor
Heart
French
13c.
Depression
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Depressionem
To press down,
depress
French
14c.;
15c.
(e) n
Desirability
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Desire + ability
State or condition
of being worthy to
be desired
19c.
(e)
1820s
Desire
v., n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Desiderare
Long for, wish for;
demand, expect
French
12c.
Despair
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Desperare
To despair, to lose
all hope
French
14c.
(m)
Determination
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Determinationem
Conclusion,
boundary
French
14c.
(m)
Dispirit
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Dis + spirit
Dis + spirit
17c.
(m)
1640s
Disposition
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Dispositionem
Arrangement,
management
French
14c.
(l)
Dissolution
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Dissolutionem
A dissolving,
destroying,
interruption
French
14c.
(m)
Distaste
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Dis + taste
Dis + taste
16c.
(l)
1590s
Distress
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Districtus
Draw apart, hinder
French
13c.
Dysphoria
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Dysphoria
From Greek roots
dys (bad) + pherin
(bearing)
20c.
Ecstasy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Ekstasis
Entrancement,
astonishment,
insanity,
displacement
Latin,
t.French
14c.
(l)
Emotion
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Emovere
Move out, remove,
agitate
French
16c.
(m)
1570s
Endeavour
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
In dever
From phrase put
(oneself) in dever
(make it one’s
duty)
15c.
(e)
Endure
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Indurare
Make hard; bear,
tolerate
French
14c.
(l)
Enjoy
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Enjoir
To give joy,
rejoice, take
delight in
14c.
(l)
Enjoyment
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Enjoy + ment
Enjoy + ment
16c.
(m)
1550s
Enlighten
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
En + light + en
To remove the
dimness or
blindness
14c.
(l)
Etymologies of wellbeing
21
Enthusiasm
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Enthousiastikos
Inspired; be
possessed or
inspired by a god
16c.
Envy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Invidia
Envy, jealousy
French
13c.
(l)
Epiphany
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Epiphaneia
Manifestation,
striking appearance
Latin, t.
French
14c.
(l)
Equanimity
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Aequanimitatem
Evenness of mind,
calmness; good-
will, kindness
14c.
(l)
Experience
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Experientia
Trial, proof,
experiment,
knowledge
French
14c.
(l)
Faith
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Fides
Trust, faith,
confidence,
reliance, credence,
belief
French
13c.
(m)
Fantasy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Phantasia
Power of
imagination;
appearance, image,
perception
Latin, t.
French
14c.
(e)
Feel
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Foljanan
To feel, perceive,
sense
12c.
(p)
Fidelity
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Fidelitatem
Faithfulness,
adherence,
trustiness
French
15c.
(e)
Flourish
v., n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Florere
To bloom,
blossom, flower
French
13c.
Forget
v.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Forgietan
For (away, amiss,
opposite) + gietan
(to grasp, get)
12c.
(p)
Forgive
v.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Forgiefan
For + giefan (give)
12c.
(p)
Freedom
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Freodom
Free + dom; power
of self-
determination,
state of free will
12c.
(p)
Gifted
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Gift
talented, endowed
by nature with
some skill or
power
17c.
(m)
1640s
Gratification
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Gratificationem
Obligingness,
complaisance
French
16c.
(l)
1590s
Grumpy
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Probably related to
Danish grum
(cruel)
18c.
(e)
1720s
Happy
adj.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Hap
Chance, luck,
fortune, fate
14c.
(l)
Happiness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Happiness
Happy + ness
16c.
(e)
1520s
Hedonic
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Hedone
Pleasure, delight,
enjoyment; a
pleasure, a delight
17c.
(m)
1650s
Honour
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Honorem
Honour, dignity,
office, reputation
French
12c.
Hope
n., v.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old) (?)
Hope, trust,
confidence
13c.
Impress
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Impressus
Press into or upon,
stamp
14c.
(l)
Impulse
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Impulsus
A push against,
pressure, shock
15c.
(e)
Etymologies of wellbeing
22
Insight
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English
Innsihht
Eyes of the mind,
mental vision,
understanding from
within
12c.
Integrity
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Integritatem
Soundness,
wholeness,
completeness
French
14c.
Interpersonal
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Inter + personal
Inter + personal
20c.
(e) -
1911
Intrigue
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Intricare
To entangle,
perplex, embarrass
Italian,
t.
French
17c.
(e)
1610s
Intrinsic
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Intrinsecus
Inwardly, on the
inside
French
15c.
(l)
Intuitive
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Intuitivus
Look at, consider
French
17c.
(m)
1640s
Irritate
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Irritatus
Excite, provoke,
annoy
16c.
(e)
1530s
Jealous
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Zelos
Emulation, rivalry,
zeal
Latin, t.
French
12c.
Joy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Gaudia
Expressions of
pleasure; sensual
delight
French
12c.
Know
n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Knew
Perceive or
understand as fact
or truth
12c.
(p)
Knowledge
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English (old)
Cnawlece
Acknowledgment
of a superior,
honour, worship
12c.
(e)
Learn
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Lisnojanan
To get knowledge,
be cultivated;
study, read, think
about
12c.
(p)
Lonely
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
(A)lone + ly
(A)lone + ly
16c.
Love
n., v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Lubo (n.) /
lubojanan (v.)
Love, like,
affection
12c.
(p)
Master
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Magistrare
To reduce to
subjugation
French
13c.
(e)
Meme
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Meme
Coined by
Dawkins from
Greek mimeisthai
(to imitate)
20c.
(1)
1970s
Mind
n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Ga-mundiz
Memory, thought,
intention
12c.
Mood
n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Mōda
Mind, emotion,
courage
12c.
(p)
Motive
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Motivus
Moving, impelling
French
14c.
(m)
Motivate
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Motive + ate
Motive + ate
19c.
(m)
1860s
Nationalist
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
National + ist
One devoted to
his/her nation
18c.
(e)
1710s
Neuro-/n
pref., n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Neuron
Nerve; originally
"sinew, tendon,
cord, bowstring
French
15c.
Neurochemistry
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Neurochemistry
Neuro + chemistry;
chemistry of the
brain
20c.
(m)
1960s
Etymologies of wellbeing
23
Neuroscience
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Neuroscience
Neuro + science;
science of the brain
20c.
(m)
1960s
Notice
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Notitia
A being known,
celebrity, fame,
knowledge
French
15c.
(e)
Observe
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Observare
Watch over, note,
heed, look to,
attend to, guard,
regard
French
14c.
(l)
Obsess
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Obsessus
Watch closely;
besiege, occupy;
stay, remain, abide
15c.
Obsessive
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Obsess + ive
To be obsessed
with
20c.
(m)
1910s
Optimism
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
French
Optimum
Best, greatest good
(Voltaire)
French
18c.
(m)
1759
Patience
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Patientia
Patience,
endurance,
submission
French
12c.
Persevere
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Perseverare
Continue
steadfastly, persist
French
14c.
(m)
Person
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Persona
Human being,
person; a part in a
drama, assumed
character
French
13c.
(e)
Personal/ity
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Persona
Pertaining to the
person
French
14c.
(l)
Perspective
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Perspectus
Clearly perceived
French
14c.
(l)
Pessimism
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Pessimism
From Latin
pessimus (worst)
18c.
(l)
1790s
Pleasure
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Placer
To please, give
pleasure, be
approved
French
14c.
(l)
Positive
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Positivus
Settled by
agreement
French
14c.
(e)
Precocious
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Precocious
From Latin prae
(before) + coquere
(to ripen, to cook)
17c.
(e)
1640s
Prefer
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Praeferre
Place or set before,
carry in front
French
14c.
(l)
Preoccupy
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Pre + occupy
Pre + occupy
16c.
(m)
1560s
Proactive
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Pro + active
Pro + active
20c.
(e)
1920s
Psychoanalysis
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
German /
French
Psychoanalyse
Coined in French
by Freud from
Latinized form of
Greek psykhe
(mental) + German
analyse
19c.
(l)
1890s
Psychology
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
German
Psychologia
From Greek
psykhe (breath,
spirit, soul) + logy
17c.
(m)
Psychiatry/ist
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Psychiatria
From Greek
psykhe (mind) +
iatreia (healing,
care)
19c.
(m)
1840s
Etymologies of wellbeing
24
Purpose
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Porpos
aim, intention
13c.
Rational
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Rationalis
Of or belonging to
reason, reasonable
French
14c.
(l)
Realise
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Réaliser
To make real
17c.
(e)
1610s
Recognise
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Recognoscere
Acknowledge,
recall to mind,
know again;
examine; certify
French
15c.
Reconcile
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Reconcilare
To bring together
again; regain; win
over again
French
14c.
(m)
Regret
n., v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Regreter
Long after, bewail,
lament someone's
death; ask the help
of
14c.
(l)
Reinforcement
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Reenforcement
Re + enforce +
ment
16c.
Relatedness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Related + ness
18c.
(e)
1710s
Remind
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Re + mind
To remember
17c.
(m)
1640s
Resistance
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Resistentia
Make a stand
against, oppose
French
14c.
(m)
Resolve
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Resolvere
To loosen, loose,
unyoke, undo;
explain; relax; set
free
French
14c.
(l)
Respect
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Respectus
Regard, a looking
at
French
14c.
(l)
Rigour
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Rigorem
Numbness,
stiffness, hardness,
firmness;
roughness,
rudeness
French
14c.
(l)
Role
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Role
From Latin rotulus
(roll of paper, on
which script is
written)
17c.
Rue
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Khrewen
Rue, regret
12c.
(p)
Rueful
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Rewfulle
Rue + full
13c.
Satisfy
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Satisfacere
Discharge fully,
comply with, make
amends
French
15c.
(e)
Schizophrenia
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
German
Schizophrenie
From the Greek
skhizein (to split) +
phren (heart, mind)
20c.
(e)
1910s
See
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Sehwanan
To see, look;
observe, perceive,
understand
12c.
(p)
Seek
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Sakanan
Inquire, search for;
pursue; long for,
wish for, desire
12c.
(p)
Self-centred
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + centred
Self + centred
17c.
(l)
1670s
Etymologies of wellbeing
25
Self-deception
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + deception
Self + deception
17c.
(l)
1670s
Self-
determination
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self-
determination
Self +
determination
17c.
(l)
1670s
Self-directed
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + directed
Self + directed
19c.
Self-help
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + help
Self + help
19c.
(e)
1830s
Self-organise
v.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + organise
Self + organise
19c.
Self-rating
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Self + rating
Self + rating
19c.
Sense
v., n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Sensus
perception, feeling,
undertaking,
meaning
French
14c.
Sensitive
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Sensitivus
Capable of
sensation
French
14c.
(l)
Serene
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Serenus
Peaceful, calm,
clear, unclouded
15c.
(m)
Serious
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Serius
Weighty,
important, grave
French
15c.
(m)
Skeptic
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Skeptikos
Inquiring,
reflective
French
16c.
(l)
Smug
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
German
(low)
Smücken
To adorn, dress
16c.
(m)
Spirit
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Spiritus
Breath, inspiration,
life
13c.
(m)
Statelike
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
State + like
State + like
20c.
Stimulate
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Stimulates
Rouse to action
17c.
(e)
1610s
Stimulus
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Stimulus
A goad, a pointed
stick
17c.
(l);
18c. n
Stress
n., v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Estrece
Narrowness,
oppression
13c.
Stressor
n.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Stress
Agent noun form
of stress
20c.
(m)
1950s
Subjective
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Late Latin
Subiectivus
Lying under,
below, near
bordering on
German
16c.;
1707
(n.s.)
Sublimation
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Sublimatus
To lift up
16c.
(e)
1590s
Suppression
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Suppressionem
The act of
supressing
15c.
(e)
Sure
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Secures
Free from care,
untroubled,
heedless, safe
13c.
(e)
Suspense
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Suspensus
To hang up;
interrupt
French
14c.
Suspicion
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Suspectionem
Mistrust, suspicion,
fear, awe
French
13c.
Talent
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Talenta
Inclination,
leaning, will,
desire
French
13c.
(l)
Temperament
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Temperamentum
Proper mixture, a
mixing in due
proportion
14c.
(l)
Etymologies of wellbeing
26
Temptation
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Temptationem
To feel, try out
French
12c.
Therapy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Therapeia
Curing, healing,
service done to the
sick; a waiting on
19c.
(m)
1840s
Think
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Thankjan
Cause to appear to
oneself
12c.
(p)
Thrive
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Scandinavian
Cognate: þrifask
Grasp to oneself
13c.
Trait
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Trait
Line, stroke,
feature, tract
15c
(l);
18c. n
Traitlike
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Trait + like
Trait + like
20c.
Unbearable
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologism
English
Unbearable
Un + bearable
15c.
(m)
Understand
v.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Under + standen
Comprehend, grasp
12c.
(p)
Valour
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Valorem
Value, worth
French
13c.
Victimology
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Victimologie
Victim + logy
20c.
(m)
1950s
Vigilance
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Vigilantia
Wakefulness,
watchfulness,
attention
French
16c.
(m)
1560s
Virtue
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Virtus
Moral strength,
high character,
goodness;
manliness; valour
French
12c.
Voluntary
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Voluntarius
Willing, of one's
free will
14c.
(l)
Vulnerable
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Vulnerabilis
Wounding
16c.
Well-being
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English
Well + be
Being well
17c.
(e) -
1610
Will
v., n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Willjan
To wish, desire; be
willing; be used to
12c.
(p)
Note. In 2nd column, adj. = adjective, adv. = adverb, pref. = prefix, n. = noun, v. = verb. . In 8th column, t. = then. In 9th column, e = early, l =
late, m = mid, n = new meaning, p = pre-.
Etymologies of wellbeing
27
Discussion
The results are illuminating in revealing the diverse etymological roots of mainstream
psychology, and indeed of English more broadly. As one can see from table 1, “native”
English words belonging either to the Germanic languages from which English emerged
(row 2) or originating in English itself (row 3) comprise only 39.4% of the sample (and
38% of the specifically psychological words). Thus, over 60% of the general words (and 62%
of psychological words) can be regarded as loanwords, having been borrowed from other
languages at some point in the development of English. Of these, the largest contributor is
Latin, providing 44.5% of all words (and 44.4% of psychological words), followed by French
(7% of all words, and 6.7% of psychological words), and Greek (7% and 7.4). The remainder
were provided by modern German (0.7% and 2.4%), Old Norse (0.5% and 0%), Italian (0.4%
and 1.2%), and finally Arabic, Dutch, and Scottish (all 0.1% and 0%). These figures highlight
the potent “foreign” influence on English (even leaving aside the fact that English is mostly
an imported Germanic tongue). This influence is even more marked when one considers that,
of the 234 words treated in the analysis as English in origin, 122 (52.1%) are neologisms
created from lexemes from other languages (mainly Latin and Greek). If such words were
also to be deemed loanwords (or at least, loan adaptations), the number of borrowed words
rises from 808 (60.6%) to 930 (70%).
It should be noted moreover that sometimes the train of transmission into English
could be somewhat complicated. For instance, of the 594 Latin loanwords, 392 (65.9%)
arrived via French (and thus via French versions of the original Latin words). Similarly, of
the 95 Greek loanwords, 16 (16.8%) arrived via French, 32 (33.7%) arrived via Latin, and 34
(35.8%) were borrowed first by Latin, and then French, before arriving into English via the
latter. Thus, some words passed through many stages of cultural filtering and interpretation
before finding their way into English. Further complexifying this process was the way other
Etymologies of wellbeing
28
languages also created neologisms from lexemes in other tongues, in the same way English
did (as noted above). Consider, for instance, the term psychoanalysis: this was coined by
Freud in French as psychoanalyse, using the Latinized form of the aforementioned Greek
lexeme psykhe (the mind) together with the German term analyse (which itself stemmed from
the Greek analysis) (Forrester, 1991). The term psychoanalyse then itself became Anglicised
in 1906 with the translation of Freud’s works into English. In such way do new concepts
come into being in this instance, signifying the new forms of therapeutic praxis developed
by Freud and others thus enriching the language. A somewhat different example is the term
altruism, widely thought to have been coined (or at least popularized) in 1830 as altruisme
by the French philosopher August Comte (Wernick, 2001). It combined the French lexeme
autrui meaning of or to others, from the Latin alter, meaning other with the suffix isme,
and entered English in 1853 in its Anglicised form. So, whereas the term psychoanalysis
served to denote new forms of therapies that were emerging in that era, the coinage of terms
like altruism helped to acknowledge and conceptualise “new” forms of attitude and behaviour
(which may have existed for centuries but had previously remained uncodified).
The findings and considerations above raise several key points which are central to
the present paper. These are issues of: (a) enrichment (of psychology, and of English); (b)
semantic shifts (in the meaning of words); (c) conceptual shifts (in our understanding of
wellbeing); (d) contingency (in terms of which cultures happen to have impacted English);
and (e) future directions (where do we go from here). First, regarding enrichment, it is
undeniably the case that English and all languages are complexified and enhanced by
borrowing from other languages. There is a radical difference, for instance, between English
as it stood prior to the Norman invasion in the 11th century and the vastly-enhanced lexicon
that emerged over the subsequent few centuries (particularly with French as the vehicle for
the importation of Latin and Greek concepts). This applies to all aspects of life, including our
Etymologies of wellbeing
29
understanding of the mind (now formally designated as psychology). Of the sample here,
only 20.9% were found in English prior to the 12th century, and only 10.4% of psychological
terms. Over the next five centuries, 58% of the total words, and 70.3% of the psychological
words, were brought into the lexicon from abroad. And the enrichment continued thereafter
up to the present, as attested to by the examples of psychoanalysis and altruism. It is hard to
overstate the importance and impact of these imports over the centuries. In appreciating this
point, we can return to the reasons for borrowing outlined above, and in particular the
distinction made by Haspelmath (2009) between “core” versus “cultural” borrowings.
With the former, a loanword replicates a word that already exists in the recipient
language, perhaps for sociolinguistic reasons, such as the cultural capital associated with
using foreign words (Blank, 1999). However, this appeared to have only occurred with a
handful of words in the sample here. For instance, the adjective poor was brought into
English in the 12th century from the Old French povre (which in turn derived from the Latin
pauper), and in so doing replaced the Old English equivalent earm (from the Proto-Germanic
arma). Instead, the vast majority of terms appear not to have replaced an extant word, but
were new additions to the language. These therefore constitute cases of cultural borrowings
where the recipient language lacks its own word for the referent in question with the foreign
word thus being untranslatable. This might occur, for instance, when a new practice or idea is
introduced to a culture, as we saw with psychoanalysis above. Thus, the loanword is taken up
because it is pragmatically useful, allowing speakers to talk about new phenomena which had
previously not needed a label (since they didn’t exist). Alternatively, some phenomena may
have previously been experienced within a culture in some way, but had not specifically been
acknowledged or conceptualised, and so also lacked a label. The example of altruism perhaps
falls into that category. Behaviours we would now identify as altruistic surely occurred in
English-speaking societies prior to the borrowing of altruism in the 19th century. However,
Etymologies of wellbeing
30
English seemingly lacked the terminology for articulating such behaviours, hence its ready
adoption of Comte’s new term. As such, there are arguably two main reasons for cultural
borrowing, namely to provide a label for a new phenomenon (as with psychoanalysis), or for
an existing phenomenon which had hitherto not been named (as with altruism). In both cases
though, the newly-borrowed loanword helps to fill a “semantic gap,” as Lehrer (1974) put it,
namely “the lack of a convenient word to express what [one] wants to speak about” (p.105).
In both cases, not only is the lexicon enriched, but relatedly our understanding of the world.
The second main issue raised by the findings is what we might call semantic shifts
changes in the meaning of words over time, especially when transplanted from one language
to another. That is, within a culture, the phenomena signified by a given signifier may shift
subtly over time (in some cases dramatically). Then, if a word is borrowed, such shifts may
be even more pronounced. As has been made clear by structuralist and post-structuralist
theorists ever since de Saussure (1916), words do not possess meaning in isolation, but derive
it in part from how they are situated in relation to other terms in the semantic network. For
example, the term “man” is constructed in relation to terms such as woman, boy, and
animal, and takes on a different meaning depending on which of these oppositional terms is
active in a given semantic context. If a word is then borrowed by another language, these
complex links are severed to some extent. As a result, many of the word’s layers of meanings
which may only truly be appreciated by speakers of the language from which it originated
are lost or invisible to the speakers of the borrowing language (Taylor, 1985). But then, in
their place, the borrowed word begins to organically fit into, and indeed develop, networks of
meaning in the new language. Thus, in some ways, the new word takes on a “new life” in its
adopted environment. All these processes then impact upon, and intersect with, the third issue
highlighted above, namely conceptual shifts (a change in our understanding of a given
phenomenon over time in the present case, wellbeing).
Etymologies of wellbeing
31
To illustrate these two issues (semantic and conceptual shifts), consider two Greek
words pertaining to wellbeing which have entered the lexicon over the centuries, and which
in so doing have undergone intriguing shifts in meaning, namely ecstasy and euphoria. The
former originated in classical Greece as ekstasis, combining ek (outside or beyond) and stasis
(stature or standing) to connote a person standing outside themselves in some fashion, from
being astonished or entranced to spiritually possessed or even insane (Michaelsen, 1989).
When the word entered English in the 14th century travelling via Latin and then French it
was mainly reference to an exalted state of “mystical” rapture arising from contemplation of
the divine (McGinn, 1987). Only in more recent centuries did it come to denote intense
experiences of pleasure uncoupled from spiritual concerns, and more recently still to have
associations with psychoactive drug use that may be problematic (Bühler, 2005). To an
extent, euphoria has reached a similar destination in English being somewhat synonymous
with ecstasy in contemporary discourse but from quite different origins. The term combines
the prefix (which conveyed goodness, value, or beauty) with the verb phérein (meaning to
bear or carry). In its original context then, it usually referred to physical health, although it
could also be deployed in a moral or developmental sense for instance, Aristotle presented
it as the outcome of a virtuous life (Raftari, 2015). When the term entered English (via Latin)
around the 17th century, it was used primarily in a medical context, referring to the condition
of feeling well and comfortable, particularly in the context of ill patients made to feel better
through medical intervention (Bühler, 2005). It is possibly this association with medically-
induced positive mental states that gave rise to modern uses of the term, which convey an
intense feeling of well-being, often precipitated by an unusual or even non-ordinary cause
such as psychoactive substances. Thus, we can see how this process of semantic change
especially when words are borrowed influences our conceptualisation of wellbeing (and
indeed, of all aspects of life). Our understanding is conditioned by and filtered through the
Etymologies of wellbeing
32
conceptual tools we have at hand, such as the words we happen to have in our lexicon. Thus,
as the lexicon shifts and evolves, so does our understanding.
This point brings us to the fourth issue highlighted above, that of contingency. That is,
the evolution of English over the centuries, and its enrichment through borrowing words, has
been a somewhat haphazard and arbitrary process. In general, there is no systematic or
rigorous way in which words are borrowed; it depends heavily on factors such as the cultural
prominence and nearness of the sources from which borrowing occurs. In that sense can we
appreciate the Western-centric nature of English as argued at the start of the paper and
more specifically its Eurocentric roots. In particular, it has been shaped by four main cultural
centres and eras: classical Greece around the 4th and 5th century BCE; the Roman empire
between the 1st and 5th centuries CE; Germanic tribes prior to the invasion of the British Isles
in the 5th century CE; and French in the centuries surrounding the Norman conquest in the
11th century. The lexicon analysed here is largely a consequence of the conceptual innovation
of these eras (particularly Greek and Latin), and of the vicissitudes of geopolitical influence
and influx (particularly Germanic and French). Had the Greek and Roman eras unfolded
differently, and had the British Isles not been subject to successful invasions by Germanic
and French peoples, English as we know it would be radically different. In this sense its
evolution has been haphazard and arbitrary, rather than necessary and inevitable.
The same point can be made in a different way by considering which languages and
cultures have not historically had a significant impact on the development of English even
if that might be changing now and therefore upon psychology as currently conceptualised
and practiced. These would include, for instance, the various languages of countries deemed
“Eastern,” such as Chinese and Japanese. As a result, historically, psychology has largely
overlooked the conceptual and lexical innovations made in those cultures. And to the extent
that those cultures have developed insights into the mind that have not been similarly arrived
Etymologies of wellbeing
33
at in the cultures that have shaped English, then psychology is impoverished and lacking.
Perhaps though this is now slowly changing, and moreover doing so in ways that reinforce
this point (about the field missing out on concepts and practices developed in other cultures).
Consider the burgeoning interest in the concept and practice of mindfulness. This is a calque,
or “loan translation,” of the Pāli term sati, a central term within Buddhism (Kabat-Zinn,
2003). Its earliest forms of usage had connotations of remembrance and recollection (Gethin,
2011), but it was harnessed by the Buddha circa 500 BCE to depict a beneficial mental state
involving present-moment awareness (Bodhi, 2011). The term “mindfulness” was coined by
T. W. Rhys Davids at the turn of the 20th century, and has subsequently been embraced by
clinicians and scholars who have sought to harness the practice of sati (e.g., as articulated in
the Pāli Canon). Principal in this regard is Kabat-Zinn (1982), who created his pioneering
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction intervention in the late seventies, which was successful
in treating chronic pain. This intervention and subsequent adaptations, like Mindfulness-
Based Cognitive Therapy (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002) has been highly efficacious
in ameliorating mental health issues (Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2004). Thus,
this is an excellent example of psychology borrowing a concept (and related practices) from a
cultural source Buddhism as expressed in Pāli which until recently had not had much of
an impact upon the field (and English more broadly).
This bring us to the fifth and final issue raised above, namely future directions (i.e.,
where does the field go from here). The argument above is that our understanding of the mind
has benefited greatly from English incorporating loanwords over the centuries. If one accepts
that premise, it follows that psychology would continue to benefit from this kind of cross-
cultural engagement and borrowing including, of course, collaboration with scholars from
other cultures. In that sense, one way in which the field might develop is through enquiring
into untranslatable words, since these constitute clear candidates for borrowing (given that
Etymologies of wellbeing
34
they lack an exact equivalent in English). This kind of endeavour has recently been promoted
by Lomas (2016), who is compiling a cross-cultural lexicography of untranslatable words
relating to wellbeing. The project is centred on the idea that whereas engaging with ideas
from other cultures has hitherto been rather arbitrary and haphazard as per issue 4 above
it could ideally be done in a more systematic and comprehensive manner. This would then
benefit psychology in all the ways outlined above. This includes providing insights into how
other cultures understand and experience life, thus countering the Western-centricity of
mainstream psychology, and opening space for greater consideration of cultural difference
and diversity. It would also mean enhancing the nomological network of concepts in the field,
leading to a more detailed and comprehensive understanding of the mind and its functions,
not only with respect to wellbeing but in all areas. This paper makes the case for further such
endeavours, allowing the field to continue to evolve over the years ahead.
Conclusion
Academic psychology is often accused of being Western-centric, with one manifestation of
this being that its discourse and theorising is mainly in English, which influences how the
field conceptualises and understands its subject matter. However, while that may indeed be
the case, as this paper has shown, English itself is a complex product of multiple cultural
influences over the centuries, including the widespread borrowing of words from other
languages. To shed light on this issue, this paper conducted an etymological analysis of a
sample of words in psychology focusing in particular on wellbeing as addressed by a
seminal article in positive psychology. The analysis identified 1333 distinct lexemes, 160 of
which could be deemed specifically psychological. Over these, over 60% (and 62% of the
psychological words) can be regarded as loanwords, borrowed from other languages at some
point in the development of English. Of these, the largest contributor is Latin, providing
44.5% of all words (44.4% of psychological words), followed by French (7% of all words,
Etymologies of wellbeing
35
and 6.7% of psychological words), and Greek (7% and 7.4). These figures show the great
cultural influences that have combined to create English, and hence modern psychology. The
paper discussed these findings in terms of five key issues: (a) enrichment (of psychology, and
of English); (b) semantic shifts (in the meaning of words); (c) conceptual shifts (in our
understanding of wellbeing); (d) contingency (in terms of which cultures have impacted
English); and (e) future directions (where we go from here). Together, this analysis not only
shows how psychology has benefitted from engagement with, and borrowing from, other
languages over the centuries, but moreover how it can continue to do so over the years ahead.
Etymologies of wellbeing
36
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Etymologies of wellbeing
41
Supplementary table. Etymologies of all words
Word
Categor
y
Type
Word
status
Origin
Original/root
Original meaning
Prox. source
Date
A
Art.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
An
One, lone
12c.
(p)
Able/ability
adj., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Habilem
Easily handled,
apt
French
14c.
(e)
About
adv.,
prep.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
On + be + utan
On + be (by) +
utan (outside)
12c.
(p)
Abuse
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Abusus
An abusing; a
using up
French
15c.
(e)
Academy
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Akademeia
Grove of
Akademos, where
Plato et al. taught
Latin, t.
French
15c.
(m)
Accept
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Acceptare
take or receive
willingly
French
14c. (l)
Access
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Accessus
a coming to, an
approach; way of
approach
French
14c.
(e)
Account
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Acont
account,
reckoning,
payment
13c.
Achieve
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Achever
To finish,
accomplish,
complete
12c.
Action
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Actionem
A putting in
motion; a
performing,
public acts
French
14c.
(m)
Active/ity
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Activitatem
State of being
active, briskness,
liveliness
14c.
Actual
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Actualis
Active, pertaining
to action
French
14c.
(e)
Adapt
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adaptare
Adjust, fit to
French
15c.
(e)
Adaptation
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adaptationem
To adjust
French
16c.
Add
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Addere
Add to, join,
attach, place upon
14c. (l)
Adjust
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adiuxtare
To bring near
French
14c. (l)
Administratio
n
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Administratio
Aid, help,
cooperation;
direction,
management
14c.
(m)
Admit
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Admittere
Admit, give
entrance, grant an
audience
14c.(l)
Adopt
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adoptare
Chose for oneself,
take by choice,
select, adopt
French
15c.
Adult
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adultus
Grown up,
mature, adult, ripe
16c.
(e)
Adventure
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adventura
(A thing) about to
happen
French
12c.
Adverse
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Adversus
Turned against,
turned toward,
facing
French
14c. (l)
Advic/se
n., v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Avis
Opinion, view,
judgment, idea
13c. (l)
Etymologies of wellbeing
42
Aesthetic
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Aisthetikos
of or for
perception by the
senses
German
18c.
(m)
Affair
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Afaire
Business, event;
rank, estate
French
14c.
Affect
n., v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Affectus
State of mind or
body produced by
external influence
14c.(l)
Affective
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Affect + ive
Affect + ive
20c.
Affirm
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Affirmare
To make steady,
strengthen
French
13c.
Affluent
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Affluentem
Flowing toward;
abounding, rich,
copious
French
15c.
(e)
Afresh
adv.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
A + fresh
Anew, again
15c.
After
adv.,
prep.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Æfter
Of (off) + -ter
(comparative
suffix) = farther
off
12c.
(p)
Against
prep.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Agenes
In opposition to,
adverse, hostile
12c.
Age
n., v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Aage
Age; life,
lifetime, lifespan;
maturity
13c. (l)
Agenda
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Agenda
things to be done
17c.
(e)
1650s
Again
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Agan
A + -gegn
(against, toward)
12c.
(p)
Aggregate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Aggregatus
Associated,
united; add to (a
flock), lead to a
flock
14c.
Aggressive
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Aggressive
Latin aggress +
ive
18c. (l)
1790s
Ahead
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
A + head
A + head
17c.
(e)
1620s
Aim
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Aestimare
Appraise,
determine the
value of
French
14c.
Air
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Aer
Mist, haze, clouds
Latin, t.
French
13c.
-Al
suf.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Latin
Alia
Neuter plural of
adjective suffix
12c.
(p)
Alarm
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Italian
All'arme
"To arms!”
French
14c. (l)
Alert
v., n.,
adv.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Italian
All'erta
To the height
(i.e., being
vigilant)
French
17c.
(e)
1610s
Alienate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Alienatus
to make another
part with;
estrange, set at
variance
16c.
(m)
1540s
Alive
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Alive
A + lif (life)
12c.
(p)
All
adj.,
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Alnaz
Every, entire, the
whole quantity of
12c.
(p)
Allot
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Aloter
To divide by lots,
to divide into lots
15c. (l)
Etymologies of wellbeing
43
Allow
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Allocare &
allaudare
Allocate
(allocare); praise
(allaudare)
French
(merging
words)
14c.
Almost
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
All + most
All + most
13c.
Alone
adj.,
adv.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
All ana
Wholly oneself
13c.
Also
adv.,
conj.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Eallswa
All + so
12c.
(p)
Alter
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Alter
The other (of the
two)
French
14c. (l)
Alternative
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Alternativus
Do one thing and
then another, do
by turns
16c. (l)
1580s
Altruism
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
French
Altruisme
Altrui (of or to
others) + isme
19c.
(m)
1850s
Always
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
Aalne weg
Contraction of
ealne weg (all the
way)
14c.
(m)
Am
v.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Izm
12c.
(p)
Ambition
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Ambitionem
Going around
(e.g., to solicit
votes); a striving
for favour
French
14c.
(m)
Ameliorate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Améliorer
To make better
18c.
(e)
1720s
America
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
Latin
(modern)
Americanus
After Amerigo
Vespucci
16 (e) -
1507
Among
prep.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Mangjan
To knead together
12c.
(p)
Amount
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Amonter
Rise, go up;
mean, signify;
some number
(n.s.)
13c.;
18c. n
Amplify
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Amplificare
To enlarge
French
15c.
(e)
Analysis
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Analysis
A breaking up, a
loosening,
releasing
Latin
16c. (l)
1580s
Anatomy
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Anatomia
Dissection; a
cutting up
French
14c. (l)
Ancestral
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Ancestrel
Pertaining to
ancestors
16c.
(e)
1520s
And
conj.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Unda
Thereupon, next
12c.
(p)
-Ance/-ant/-
ent
suf.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Latin
-antia / -entia
Abstract nouns of
process or fact
15c.
Anger
n.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Angaz
To grieve, vex,
distress; to be
vexed at, take
offense with
Old Norse
12c.
(p)
Angle
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Angul
Angle, hook, fish-
hook
12c.
(p)
Answer
n.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Andswaru
And (in front of,
before) + -swaru
(affirmation to
swear)
12c.
(p)
Antagonist
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
Greek
Antagonistes
Competitor,
opponent, rival
16c. (l)
1590s
Etymologies of wellbeing
44
Antagonistic
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Antagonist + ic
Acting in
opposition
17c.
(e)
1630s
Antiquity
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Antiquitatem
Ancient times,
antiquity,
venerableness
French
14c. (l)
Anxiety
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Anxietatem
Anguish, anxiety,
solicitude
16c.
(e)
1520s
Any
adj.,
pron.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Ainagas
One + y
12c.
(p)
Anymore
adv.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Any + more
Any + more
14c.
Appeal
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appellare
To accost,
address, appeal
to, summon,
name
French
14c.
(e)
Appetite
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appetitus
Appetite, longing;
desire toward
French
13c.
Application
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Applicationem
A joining to, an
attaching oneself
to
French
15c.
(e)
Approach
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appropiare
Go nearer to
French
13c.
Appropriate
v., adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Appropriatus
To make one’s
own
15c.
(e)
Arbitrary
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Arbitrarius
Of arbitration,
hence, depending
on the will,
uncertain
French
13c.
Argument
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Argumentum
A logical
argument;
evidence, ground,
support, proof
French
14c.
(e)
Aroma
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Aroma
Seasoning, a spice
or sweet herb
Latin
13c.
(e)
Aroma-
therapy
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Aromathérapie
Aroma + therapy
20c.
(e) -
1930s
Around
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
A + round
A + round
13c.
Arrange
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Arengier
Put in a row, put
in battle order
14c. (l)
Arrangement
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Arrangement
Act of putting in
proper order
18c.
(m)
1740s
Array
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Ar-redare
Put in order
French
14c.
(m)
Arrive
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Ad ripam
To the shore
French
12c.
Art
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Artem
Work of art;
practical skill; a
business, craft
French
13c.
(e)
Article
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Articulus
A part, a member
French
13c.
Articulate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Articulatus
To separate into
joints; to utter
distinctly
16c. (l)
1590s
Artistic
adj.
Gen
concept
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Relating to art
18c.
(m)
1750s
Artefact
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Italian
Artefatto
From Latin arte
(by skill) +
19c.
(e)
1820s
Etymologies of wellbeing
45
factum (thing
made)
-Ary
suf.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Latin
Arius
Connected with,
pertaining to;
engaged in
12c.
As
adv.,
conj.,
pron.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(old)
Alswa
Quite so, wholly
so; ll so
12c.
(p)
Ask
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Aiskojanan
Ask
12c.
(p)
Assess
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Assessare
Fix a tax upon
French
15c.
(e)
Associate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Associationem
Join with, unite
with
16c.
(e)
Association
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Associationem
Join with, unite
with
15c.
Assumption
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Assumptionem
A taking up,
receiving,
acceptance
French
13c.
At
prep.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
At
To, near, at
12c.
(p)
-Ate
suf.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Latin
Atus
Element used in
forming nouns
12c.
Athletic
adj.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Greek
Athletikos
From Greek
athletes
(contestant in the
games)
Latin
17c.
(e)
1630s
-Ative
suf.
Gramma
r
Loanword
Latin
Ativus
Of or related to;
tending to
12c.
Attention
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Attentionem
Give heed to;
stretch toward
French
14c. (l)
Attitude
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Aptitudinem
Tendency,
likelihood
Italian, t.
French
17c.
(m);
18c. n
Attract
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Attractus
To draw, pull; to
attract
15c.
(e)
Attribute
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Attributus
Assign to, allot,
commit, entrust
14c. (l)
Attune
v.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Attune
Put in tune, adjust
to harmony of
sound
16c. (l)
1590s
Authentic
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Authentikos
Original, genuine,
principal
Latin, t.
French
14c.
(m)
Author
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Auctor
Promoter,
producer, father,
progenitor
French
14c.
(m)
Autonomy
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Autonomia
Independence,
freedom
17c.
(e)
1620s
Average
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Avarie
Damage to ship
15c.
(l);
18c. n
Aware
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Ga-waraz
Watchful, vigilant
12c.
(p)
Away
adv.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Aweg
A + way
13c.
Back
n., adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bakam
Back, behind
12c.
(p)
Balance
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Bilanx
From having two
pans
French
13c.
(e)
Barren
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Baraigne
Barren, sterile
12c.
(e)
Base
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Basis
A stepping, a
step, pedestal
Latin, t.
French
14c.
(e)
Etymologies of wellbeing
46
Bath/e
n., v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Badan
Immersion in
water
12c.
(p)
Be
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Biju
I am, will be
12c.
(p)
Beacon
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Baukna
Beacon, signal
12c.
(p)
Bear
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Beranan
To carry, bring;
bring forth, give
birth to, produce,
support
12c.
(p)
Beauty
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Biauté
Beauty,
seductiveness,
beautiful person
14c.
(e)
Because
conj.
Gramma
r
Loanword
French
Par cause
By + cause
14c. (l)
Become
v.
Gen
concept
Native
English
Be + come
Happen, come
about, befall
12c.
Before
prep.,
adv.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Beforan
Bi (by) + forana
(from the front)
12c.
(p)
Begin
v.
Gen
concept
Native
English
Beginnan
Be + ginnan
(West-Germanic
to open, open
up)
12c.
(p)
Behave
v.
Psych
concept
Native
English
Be + have
Conduct, comport
15c.
(e)
Belief
n.
Psych
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Bileave
Confidence
reposed in a
person or thing
12c. (l)
Belong
v.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Belong
Be + longen (to
go)
12c.
(p)
Belongingness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Belonging +
ness
The quality of
belonging
20c.
Benefit
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Benefactum
Good deed
French
14c. (l)
Benign
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Benignus
Kindly,
kindhearted,
friendly, generous
French
14c.
(e)
Best
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bat
Of the highest
quality
12c.
(p)
Better
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Batizo
Of superior
quality or
excellence
12c.
(p)
Best
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Betst
Of highest quality
or standing, first,
in the best
manner.
Superlative of bōt
(remedy,
reparation)
12c.
(p)
Between
prep.,
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Betweonum
By + tweon (two
each)
12c.
(p)
Beyond
prep.,
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
English
(Old)
Begeondan
From be (by) +
geond (yonder)
12c.
(p)
Bias
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Biais
A slant, a slope,
an oblique
16c.
(e)
1520s
Big
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old) ?
Big
Powerful, strong
13c.
Biology
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English (et
al.)
Biology
From Greek bios
(life, one's life,
lifetime)
19c.
(e)
1810s
Birth
n., v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Gaburthis
Birth
12c.
(p)
Etymologies of wellbeing
47
Birthday
n.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Byrddæg
Birth + day
14c. (l)
Bit
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Biton
Small piece;
morsel; act of
biting
12c.
(p)
Blind
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Blindaz
Destitute of sight;
dark, enveloped
in darkness
12c.
(p)
Block
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Bloc
Log, block of
wood
12c.
(p)
Boat
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bait
Small open vessel
12c.
(p)
Body
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Botah
Body, frame
12c.
(p)
Book
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bokiz
Beech
(beechwood
tablets on which
runes were
inscribed)
12c.
(p)
Bookstore
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Book + store
Book + store
18c.
(m)
Bore
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Buron
N.s. (boredom):
figurative
extension of bore
on the notion of
move forward
slowly and
persistently
12c.
(p);
18c. n
1780s
Born
v., adj.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Boren
Alternative past
participle of beran
(bear)
12c.
(p)
Branch
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Branca
Footprint
French
13c.
Brain
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bragnan
Brain
12c.
(p)
Break
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Brekanan
12c.
(p)
Bring
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Brangjanan
To bear, convey,
take along in
coming; bring
forth, produce
12c.
(p)
Brittle
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Brutila
Brittle
14c. (l)
Broad
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Braidi
wide, not narrow;
flat, open,
extended
12c.
(p)
Build
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Buthla
To construct a
house
12c.
(p)
Buffer
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Bufe
A blow, slap,
punch
16c.
(e)
Burden
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Burthinjo
That which is
borne
12c.
(p)
By
prep.,
adv.
Gramma
r
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Bi
Near, in by during
12c.
(p)
Call
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Kall
To cry out; call
for, summon,
invoke
Old Norse
12c.
(p)
Can
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Kunnjanan
To have power, to
be able to
12c.
(p)
Calculus
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Calculus
Reckoning,
account
17c.
(m)
1660s
Candidate
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Candidatus
White-robed; one
aspiring to office
16c.
Etymologies of wellbeing
48
Capacity
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Capacitatem
Breadth, capacity
French
15c.
(e)
Catalysis
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Katalysis
Dissolution, a
dissolving
17c.
(m)
1650s
Cause
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Causa
A cause; a reason;
interest; judicial
process, lawsuit
French
12c.
Centre
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Kentron
Sharp point, goad,
sting of a wasp
Latin,
t.French
14c. (l)
Century
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Centuria
Group of one
hundred
16c.
(e)
1530s
Certain
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Certanus
Determined,
resolved, fixed
settled
French
13c.
Challenge
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Chalonge
Calumny, slander;
demand,
opposition
14c.
(e)
Change
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cambiare
To barter,
exchange
French
13c.
Chaos
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Khaos
Abyss, that which
gapes open
French
14c.
(l);
17c. n
Chance
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cadential
That which falls
out
French
13c.
Character
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Greek
Kharakter
Engraved mark;
symbol or imprint
on the soul
French
14c.
(m)
Characteristic
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Character +
istic
Pertaining to
character
17c.
(e)
1610s
Charter
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cartula
Little paper
French
12c.
Cheer
n., v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Chiere
Face,
countenance,
look, expression
12c.
Child
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Kiltham
Unborn, fetus,
infant
12c.
(p)
Childhood
n.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Cildhad
Child + hood
12c.
(p)
Circumstance
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Circumstantial
Surrounding
condition
French
12c.
Citizen
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Citeien
City-dweller,
town-dweller,
citizen
12c.
Citizenship
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Citizen + ship
Citizen + ship
17c.
(e)
1610s
Civil
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Civilis
Relating to a
society, public
life, civic order
French
14c. (l)
Choice
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Chois
Choice; fact of
having a choice
13c.
Choose
v.
Psych
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Keus
Choose, seek out,
select
12c.
(p)
Claim
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Clamare
To cry out, shout,
proclaim
French
13c.
Class
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Classis
A class, a
division; army,
fleet
French
16c.
Clear
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Clarus
Clear, loud
French
12c.
Etymologies of wellbeing
49
Client
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Clientem
Follower, retainer
French
14c. (l)
Climate
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Klima
Region, zone; an
inclination, slope
Latin, t.
French
14c. (l)
Clinic
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Klinikos
of the bed
17c.
(e)
1620s
Clinical
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Clinic + al
Pertaining to
hospital care
18c. (l)
1780s
Close
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Clausus
To shut, close,
block up, make
inaccessible
French
12c.
Cloud
n.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Clud
From clod (lump
of earth or clay)
13c.
Co-
pref.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Com
Together with
12c.
Cognitive
adj.
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Cognitive
From Latin
cognit (get to
know, recognize)
+ ive
16c. (l)
1580s
Coherent
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cohaerentem
The quality of
cohering
French
16c. (l)
1550s
Collaborate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Collaborates
To work with
19c.
(m)
1840s
Collective
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Collectivus
Gather together
French
15c.
(e)
Come
v.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Kwem
Move into view,
appear; approach
12c.
(p)
Comfort
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confortare
To strengthen
much
French
13c. (l)
Commit
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Committere
To unite, connect,
combine; to bring
together
14c. (l)
Common
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Communis
In common,
public, shared by
all or many;
general,
French
13c.
Commonplace
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Commmon +
place
Translation of
Latin locus
communis, itself a
translation of
Greek koinos
topos (general
topic)
16c.
(m)
1540s
Community
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Communitatem
Community,
society,
fellowship
French
14c. (l)
Compensate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Compensatus
To weigh one
thing (against
another)
17c.
(m)
1640s
Competent
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Competentem
Coincide, agree
French
14c. (l)
Complete
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Completes
To fill up,
complete the
number of
French
14c. (l)
Complex
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Complexus
Surrounding,
encompassing
French
17c.
(m)
1650s
Comprehensiv
e
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Comprehensivu
s
To take together,
to unite; include;
17c.
(e)
1610s
Etymologies of wellbeing
50
to comprehend,
perceive
Compete
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Competere
Strive in common
17c.
(e)
1610s
Competitive
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Compete + ive
Compete + ive
19c.
(m)
1820s
Comprise
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Compris
To include
15c.
(e)
Compulsive
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Compulsus
To drive together,
force
16c.
Concentrate
v.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Italian
Concentrare
From Latin com
(with, together) +
centrum (centre)
17c.
(e)
1630s
Concept/ion
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conceptum
Draft, abstract
16c.
(m)
1550s
Concern
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Concernere
Concern, touch,
belong to
French
15c.
(e)
Concrete
adj., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Concretus
Condensed,
hardened, stiff,
curdled,
congealed, clotted
14c. (l)
Conclude
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Concludere
To shut up,
enclose
14c.
(e)
Condition
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conditionem
Agreement;
stipulation
French
14c.
(m)
Confess
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confess
To acknowledge
French
14c. (l)
Confident
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confidentem
Firmly trusting,
reliant, bold,
daring
French
16c.
(m)
Conflict
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conflictus
To strike together,
be in conflict
15c.
(e)
Confirm
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confirmare
Make firm,
strengthen,
establish
French
13c.
(m)
Confront
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Confrontare
Assign limits to;
adjoin
French
16c.
(m)
1560s
Conscious
adj.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conscious
knowing, aware
17c.
(e)
1610s
Consciousness
n.
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Conscious +
ness
Conscious + ness;
internal
knowledge
17c.
(e)
1630s
Consider
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Considerare
To look at
closely, observe
French
14c. (l)
Constitute
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Constituere
To cause to stand,
set up, fix
15c.
(m)
Constrain
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Constringere
To bind together,
tie tightly, fetter,
shackle, chain
French
14c.
(e)
Consume
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Consumer
To use up, eat,
waste
French
14c. (l)
Contain
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Continere
To hold together,
enclose
French
13c.
Consult
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Consultare
Consult, take the
advice of
French
16c.
(e)
1520s
Content
adj. n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Contentus
Contained,
satisfied
French
15c.
Etymologies of wellbeing
51
Context
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Contextus
A joining together
15c.
Continue
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Continuare
Join together in
uninterrupted
succession
French
14c.
(m)
Contrary
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Contrarius
Opposite,
opposed;
contrary, reverse
French
14c.
(m)
Contribute
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Contributus
To bring together,
add, unite, collect,
contribute
16c.
(e)
1520s
Control
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Contreroller
Exert authority
15c.
(e)
Convenient
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Convenientem
To come together,
unite, join,
combine; agree
with, accord
14c. (l)
Convention
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conventionem
A meeting,
assembly; an
agreement
French
15c.
(e)
Conversation
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Conversatione
m
Frequent use,
frequent abode in
a place,
intercourse
French
14c.
(m)
Conviction
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Convictionem
Proof, refutation
15c.
(m);
17c. n
Corporation
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Corporationem
Assumption of a
body
15c.
(m)
Correct
adj., v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Correctus
To put straight,
reduce to order,
set right
14c.
(m)
Correlate
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Correlation
Cor (together) +
relation
16c.
(m)
1540s
Counsel
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Consilium
Plan, opinion
French
12c.
Counter
v.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Counter
Go against, come
against, engage in
combat
14c. (l)
Counter-
intuitive
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Counter-
intuitive
Counter +
intuitive
20c.
(m)
1950s
Couple
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Copula
Tie, connection
French
13c. (l)
Courage
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cor
Heart
French
13c.
Course
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cursus
A running; a
journey; direction
French
13c.
Covariance
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Co + variance
Being covariant
19c.
(m)
1850s
Create
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Creatus
To make, bring
forth
15c.
Critic
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Kritikos
Able to make
judgments
French
16c. (l)
1580s
Criticise
v.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Critic + ise
To engage in
criticism
17c.
(m)
1640s
Culture
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cultura
A cultivating;
agriculture; tilling
the soil
15c.;
19c.
(m) n
Etymologies of wellbeing
52
Cumulative
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cumulatus
To heap
16c.
Cure
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Cura
Care, concern
13c.
Currency
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Currere
To run
17c.
(m)
Curve
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Curvus
Crooked, curved,
bent
15c.
(e)
Crystal
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Krystallos
Frost
French
12c.
c
v.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
To dip a little and
often; wet by
splashing
16c.
(m)
Dad
n.
Gen
concept
Native
English
(Old)
Father
12c.
(p)
Dance
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Dancier
To dance
13c.
Danger
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Dangier
Power, power to
harm, mastery,
authority, control
13c.
(m)
Day
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Dages
Day
12c.
(p)
Damage
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Damnum
Loss, hurt,
damage
French
14c.
Daughter
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Dokhter
Daughter
12c.
(p)
Deal
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Dailaz
A part, share
12c.
(p)
Dead
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Daudaz
Dead; full, torpid
12c.
(p)
Deaf
adj.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Daubaz
Lacking the sense
of hearing; empty,
barren
12c.
(p)
Deafness
n.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Defnesse
Deaf + ness;
inability to
distinguish or
perceive sounds
14c. (l)
Death
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Dauthuz
Death
12c.
(p)
Debate
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Debatre
To fight, from de
(down,
completely) +
batre (to beat)
14c. (l)
Decade
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Dekas
Group of ten
Latin, t.
French
15c.
(m)
Decency
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Decentia
Comeliness,
decency
16c.
(m)
1560s
Deception
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Deceptionem
A deceiving’ to
ensnare, take in,
beguile, cheat
French
15c.
(e)
Decide
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Decider
To decide,
determine; to cut
off
French
14c. (l)
Deed
n.
Gen
concept
Native
Proto-
Germanic
Dethi
A doing, act,
action;
transaction, event
12c.
(p)
Defence
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Defensus
Ward off, protect
French
13c.
Define
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Definire
To limit,
determine,
explain
French
14c. (l)
Degree
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Degré
A step (of a stair),
pace, degree
12c.
Etymologies of wellbeing
53
Delay
v., n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Delaiier
From de (away,
from) + laier
(leave, let)
13c.
Democracy
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Greek
Demokratia
From demos
(common people)
+ kratos (rule,
strength)
Latin, t.
French
16c.
(m)
1570s
Demographic
adj.
Gen
concept
Neologis
m
English
Demographic
From Greek
demos (people) +
graphy + ic
19c. (l)
1880s
Denominator
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Denominator
To name
16c.
(m)
1540s
Deny
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Denegare
To deny, reject,
refuse
French
14c.
(e)
Depend
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Dependere
To hang from,
hang down; be
dependent on, be
derived
12c.
(p)
Depression
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Depressionem
To press down,
depress
French
14c.;
15c.
(e) n
Derivative
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Derivativus
To lead or draw
off
French
15c.
(e)
Descriptive
adj.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Descriptivus
To write down,
copy; sketch,
represent
18c.
(m)
1750s
Desirability
Psych
concept
Neologis
m
English
Desire + ability
State or condition
of being worthy
to be desired
19c.
(e)
1820s
Desire
v., n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Desiderare
Long for, wish
for; demand,
expect
French
12c.
Despair
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Desperare
To despair, to
lose all hope
French
14c.
(m)
Despite
n., prep.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Despectus
A looking down
on, scorn,
contempt
French
13c.
Detail
n.
Gen
concept
Loanword
French
Detail
Small piece or
quantity; a cutting
in pieces
16c.
Determine
v.
Gen
concept
Loanword
Latin
Determinare
To enclose,
bound, set limits
to
French
14c. (l)
Determination
n.
Psych
concept
Loanword
Latin
Determinatione
m
Conclusion,
boundary
French
14c.
(m)
Develop