Following some comment I received on "Alaska Airlines", "American Airlines", "United Airlines", etc. Why airlines and not airline? that mentioned the meaning of "airline" changed over time, I wonder: How can I see how the meaning of a word changed over time?

1 Answer 1


Generally you can't. If you want to find out you would have to research it. You might find the information listed in dictionaries (or etyonline), or you can become a lexicographer and find examples of the word used in texts from the past, using them to deduce the changes in meaning.

It is even harder to find the changes in grammar.

But it generally isn't needed to speak English. The majority of native English speakers are ignorant of the etymology of words.

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