There are many English words with two different core etymologies, often Latin + Greek. For example:

Claustrophobia – from the Latin claustrum meaning "confined space" and Greek φόβος (phobos) meaning "fear".

Are there English words with multiple different roots? I'm okay counting Latin differently from Romance, for example, as the path to English is different. I wouldn't count words that are Germanic as from anything other than "Germanic". It doesn't feel like a borrowing unless we got it from somewhere distinct other than "straight up through the family tree"

I know you can add an "-ic" to words, which comes through French, or "-al" which is through French < Latin < Etruscan. "rechanneling" is "re-" from French, "channel" from French via a bunch to Sumerian, "-ing" from English/Germanic

Any ones that aren't just adding something small like that?

  • 1
    The most obvious candidate I can think of would be the humorous (and deliberately misspelt) hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic (‘afraid of long words’), which at a rough count has at least nine elements that can be individually etymologised. Sadly, I don’t think it’s made it into any dictionaries yet, so it’s debatable whether it’s an English word or not. Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 22:16
  • 1
    That's not multiple etymologies, that's a single etymology showing the compounding of elements derived from different languages. Please could you clarify what you're looking for?
    – Rosie F
    Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 10:25
  • Yeah, I didn't quite explain that clearly. I mean "words that show elements derived from different languages"
    – Necarion
    Commented Jul 15, 2021 at 22:40

1 Answer 1


Remacadamized (Latin/French, Gaelic, Hebrew, Greek, English) isn't in the OED, but Macadamized is.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.