What online resources are available to trace back the origins of words?

Ideally, this would be a searchable web dictionary like Wiktionary but listing the etymological chain along with some sort of proof (or a weaker reason to believe) - links to descriptions of the relevant sound change patterns, or to old texts where the word was used, or to that paper in which some respected linguist speculated about such-and-such a change having happened n centuries ago.

I'm particularly interested in Slavic languages and their relationships to other branches of PIE, but I'd be curious about how others handle this problem too, so please consider it a general question.

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    I think that ideally, Wiktionary's standards would require a similar amount of citations as Wikipedia: that could make it a much more useful tool. Then again, I understand it may never have taken off that way, plus there are some subtle issues in deciding what warrants a citation request that are a little different from Wikipedia. Just saying.
    – LjL
    Oct 30, 2019 at 0:15
  • @LjL that would be great, but ... wikipedia is mostly hand written, but wiktionary is mostly machine generated. Therefore, it would be very hard to get the citations up to the same standard. Oct 30, 2019 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


Probably the closest match to your requirements is the following resource Proto-Indo-European Lexicon hosted by FIN-CLARIN. It provides a detailed chain of sound shifts for known cognates.

It does not attempt to explain the full vocabulary of the modern languages etymologically, i.e., you don't find information on borrowed words or newly formed words in that resource.

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