Questions and Answers


QUESTION: The content of your dictionaries is absolutely insufficient, the quality of the entries is pretty bad. This makes Etymos completely useless.
ANSWER: First of all, this is, of course, not a question, but an expression of opinion. However, it is one we read quite often, but not always so drastically formulated, although sometimes even more drastically. The dictionaries are edited in unpaid spare time as a future project. Such a task needs time. Although maybe accurate, blanket criticism is unhelpful and therefore explicitly unwelcome. After all, everyone can inform themselves otherwise if they find the material provided by us insufficient.

QUESTION: According to which criteria was the vocabulary of the dictionaries compiled?
ANSWER: The compilation does not constitute a representative selection from the vocabulary of the languages, but results from the currently digitally available data. It covers all areas of verbal communication, colloquial language and slang as well as newspapers, media and literary language as well as the technical languages ​​of various scientific, technical and cultural areas. Appart from this rather unsystematic extension, we aim at systematically building up the vocabulary. Accordingly, there are several revision levels.

QUESTION: Which revision levels for the dictionaries are there?
ANSWER: The revision level is determined according to two criteria. The first criterion is the minimum quality of all entries.
  1. Filling with basic entries
  2. Building all entries up to at least revision entry 1
  3. Building all entries up to at least revision entry 2
  4. Building all entries up to at least revision entry 3
  5. Final revision of all entries as full entries
The second criterion is the vocabulary coverage. For this purpose graded standard vocabularies of various sizes are developed. On the one hand they are based on a frequency analysis of a large number of modern texts, on the other hand special consideration is given to particular conversation situations and usage scenarios.
  1. unspecific, automatically generated word collection
  2. at least key vocabulary ~1.000 words, basic communication
  3. at least key vocabulary ~4.000 words, everyday communication
  4. at least advanced vocabulary ~16.000 words, extended text coverage
  5. at least advanced vocabulary ~64.000 words, comprehensive text coverage
  6. universal vocabulary >64.000 words, text coverage as complete as possible

QUESTION: Which revision levels for the entries are there?
ANSWER: We aim at verifying all entries as best as possible and add information about semantics, grammar and phonetics. There are eight revision levels, identified by different symbols.
Basic entry: lemma and translation word-in-word; source and reliablility uncertain.

Revision entry 1: lemma and translation with classification; not reliably verified.

Revision entry 2: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection; verified.

Revision entry 3: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection and phonetics; verified.

Revision entry 4: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection, phonetics and audio; verified.

Revision entry 5: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection, phonetics, audio and definition; verified.

Revision entry 6: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection, phonetics, audio, definition and etymology; verified.

Full entry: lemma and translation with complete characterisation; lemma with inflection, phonetics, audio, definition, etymology and collocation; verified.

QUESTION: Why do inflection classes, grammatical descriptions, and pronunciation information at Etymos differ from those found in other dictionaries?
ANSWER: We use a strictly scientific approach. Thus we do not follow traditional linguistics, often interspersed with nationalist ideology and literary aesthetics, which so often describes things as they should be in the opinion of individual authors, rather than as they really are. This leads to certain deviations, which are greatest, but also most meaningful and useful, for the description of inflections. Those who have not dealt with these matters anyway will simply be pleased with the clarity of our system. Those who are used to other things and venture on our system will be rewarded with easy-to-use symbols and schemes and meaningful connections. Those who can see neither the meaning nor the benefit of our system are again referred to other possible providers.


QUESTION: The web site is not completely translated. May I help?
ANSWER: Definitely! Assistence in this area is very welcome. However, the language concerned should be your primary language or at least you should have very good knowledge of it. No automatic translations, please! You can find the current state of the translation at GitHub. German is the main reference, English is second with lower priority.

QUESTION: May I submit proposals for missing words?
ANSWER: We have barely managable large amounts of verified source material, enought to keep us busy integrating it for a very long time. Editing single proposals that still needed to be verified would disrupt the workflow and ultimately cost more time than to continue working on the existing material, making it inefficient. Therefore we can not consider word suggestions.

QUESTION: May I suggest corrections if I find mistakes?
ANSWER: We are aware that our dictionaries contain many oddities and also mistakes, sometimes even grave ones. This is due to the fact that the initial filling of the database was done by machine data collection and classification. Again, however, the same argument applies as with new proposals: Editing individual corrections is significantly more inefficient than systematic editing automatically generated entries. Therefore, we cannot consider corrective suggestions for basic entries and revision entries 1.
However, the situation is different for entries from revision entry 2 on which were already manually revised. We would be very grateful for corrections of mistakes in such an entry. Mistakes may be reported via the contact form on the imprint. Please specify the keyword as well as the site, source, and target language and describe the problem and your solution sufficiently exactly. It may be sensible to add a source.

QUESTION: I’d like to do more. May I join Etymos and collaborate on the project?
ANSWER: We’d like to welcome you as a new team member. However, in contrast to many other free information sites Etymos doesn’t work on the basis of contributions by any user. We strive to use a scientific approach. Therefore we have certain minimum standards for team members. For details see the job postings on our team site.

QUESTION: Do you have special material for me to advertise you?
ANSWER: We have, of course. We provide a few buttons and banners to link to our site.

Buttons of different shape
Etymos Etymos Etymos Etymos

Banner, small, 216x46

Banner, normal, 468x60

Banner, large, 468x100

Banner, giant, 1218x346 (size not original)


QUESTION: How can I support the project financially?
ANSWER: Etymos works purely noncommercial. Hardware, software and online access are paid by us privately. Necessary work is done without pay only, thus we can work very cost-saving. Therefore we do not really need to ask for donations.

However, of course we would be glad to receive finacial contributions, which support us in maintaining, continuing and extending our project. So, if you can not hold yourself back to loose money to us, you may do it here. You surely get our temporary eternal thanks, as well as some karma points on your jouney from intestinal bacterium to nirvana. Payment is handled easily via Paypal (recipient: Tec’s Ilaros WoW). Minimal sum is 5,- €..
Choose a sum:

  • Name: Etymos-Dictionary
  • Languages: 36
  • Sememes: 1028389
  • verified: 1337
  • complete: 10
  • Lemmata: 2679004
  • Minimum: Luxembourgish (91 Lemmata)
  • Maximum: German (1007329 Lemmata)
  • Database: MySQL (5.7.30-log)
  • Program: PHP (8.1.10)