Where did that word come from? Think about it! It may surprise you.

Have you ever wanted to know where a word comes from? Studying where words come from and how they have changed throughout history is called etymology. It is really interesting to think that every word has unique path it has taken to be used today. Historians will look back and find the first known use of the word. This is called the word origin. You would be amazed at how a word will change over time and how they differ from culture to culture. If words have changed over time, it is normally done to make it easier to say or to make it sound different from similar words.

Words are often borrowed from one language to the next. This is most commonly found in things that cultures are likely to share with little communication needed. This would include things like sushi and other foods. Activities are also found to jump languages quickly like yoga or feng shui. If you look back at older works of literature, you will come across words we no longer use regularly. Why do you think that is? The language etymology worksheets that you will find below will encourage you to have a reference handy such as a dictionary or online tool. Make sure to have this at the ready. We will explore root words, prefixes, and suffixes that may help us learn more about the history of the language behind the word. This helps understand the current use of the word as well as how the word was used in history. This will also help you learn identify synonyms that may often get overlooked. We will look at word origins and see if we can identify languages where the word is derived from or first appeared. As we get into this for a bit, we will learn that there are some words that sound the same in just about every language. My favorite is coffee. This is a pretty recognizable word in over fifty different languages.

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Printable Etymology Worksheets

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Root Words and Meaning

Use a dictionary to determine the meaning and etymology of each root word below. Use what you have learned to match each word to its meaning.

Same or Different?

Some words look like they would have the same root word, but they actually have different etymologies. Study each pair of words below. Do they have a root in common or not?

Identifying Root Words

Look up each of the following words in the dictionary. What is the root word? Write it on the line.

Etymology and Meaning

Look up each of the following words in the dictionary. Study the pronunciation guidance and say the word quietly to yourself. What is the origin of the word?

What Does It Mean?

Look up each word in the dictionary. Where does it come from? What does it mean? Fill out the chart.

Prefixes and Roots

Match each prefix with its root word and write the new words on the lines below.

Common Greek and Latin Roots

Read the clues. Then identify the Latin root.

Greek and Latin Roots

Match each Greek or Latin root to its meaning.

Root Word Worksheet

Identify the root in each word and write it on the line.


Many words in the English language have their roots in Ancient Greek and Latin. Most dictionaries not only tell you what a word means, but also its origin.

Originating Language

Look up each word below in a dictionary. Fill out the chart. Then answer the questions.

Etymology Challenge

Each word below contains one or more Greek or Latin roots. Unscramble the words. Then use a dictionary to determine the etymology and meaning of each word.

Word Roots and Origins

: Read each word and its meaning below. Use a dictionary to help you locate the root(s) in each word. Some words may contain more than one root. Write the root(s) on the first line. Right the country of origin on the second line.

Word Origins

Find each of the three words below in the dictionary. Fill out the table.

Common Greek and Latin Roots

Read the clues. Then identify the root.