Harper, Douglas

He saw a need.
He saw a need.

Creator of the Online Etymology Dictionary. It is the best of its kind.

Quotation -
"I began this project after I looked one day for a free dictionary of word origins online and found that there was none.

You could subscribe to the Oxford English Dictionary for $550 a year …. There were free dictionaries with definitions, some lists of slang words and their sources, and some sites that listed a few dozen of the strangest etymologies of English words. But there was no comprehensive public list of the words we use every day — words like the and day — that told what they used to be before we got them.

For some reason no university has seen fit to shackle its graduate students to the cyber-mill, grinding out an online etymology dictionary. So I decided to do it for them. I also did this to increase my understanding of the language, and its ancestors and relatives.

As a writer and editor with an amateur's passion for linguistics, I took this as a joy ride more than drudgery. And I know so much more useless trivia than I did when I started (applaud is related to explode; three people can have a dialogue; and if anyone calls you feisty, slug him)."
(Source: Online Etymology Dictionary )

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