The Online Etymology Dictionary is possibly my favourite site in the world. I only wish I’d discovered it earlier! It’s invaluable for checking first recorded usages of words*, although whenever I consult it, I tend to end up somewhere very different from where I started and with absolutely no idea of how I’ve got there. There are just so many fascinating relationships between words and phrases.
I’ve recently been introduced to another useful site by Samhain editor Amy Sherwood. Onelook Dictionary Search provides an instant overview of, as its name would suggest, dictionary entries. As a British author who sometimes struggles with American spelling and grammar, I find it invaluable when it comes to such pesky words as light-headed. Or do I meant lightheaded?
*In my forthcoming book A Minor Inconvenience, Hugh Fanshawe has the distinction of being an early adopter. In April 1813, up-to-the-minute Hugh refers to his mare Molly as a butterball. I love to think that he actually invented the word. (And yes, just in case anyone’s wondering, I’m aware that Hugh is fictional and that words are often in use for many years before being written down. But I still think he invented it.)