Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen

The “Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen (EWA)” covers the entire vocabulary of Old High German from about 750 to 1150 CE. The vocabulary of Old High German is the richest among the Early Germanic languages, because it reflects almost all areas of social life. The EWA fills a serious gap in the corpus of academic resources for German and Indo-European Linguistics by developing a research tool for the etymology of Old High German, which evaluates and expands the current state of research and knowledge.

Because the denotations of a word provide information on the degree of the speakers’ empirical knowledge of the environment, particular importance is attached to the indication of the respective semantic motivations of a term. Moreover, new approaches to lexicography are pursued by incorporating historical syntax.

The EWA also proves to be an indispensable tool for research on the etymology of Modern High German, since a reliable analysis of the oldest forms is a prerequisite for understanding the Modern High German words. In addition, a high proportion of the Old High German vocabulary is not continued in the modern standard language, but lives on exclusively in dialects and place names. These lexemes are easily found via a word index that is added to each EWA volume. In etymological dictionaries of Modern High German, such words are not taken into account.


  • PD Dr. Dagmar S. Wodtko (Office Site Leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Lühr (Project Leader)
  • PD Dr. Harald Bichlmeier (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Maria Kozianka (Research Associate)
  • Dr. Roland Schumann (Research Associate)
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Responsible for the academies' programme

Sebastian Zwies M.A.

Geschäftsstelle Mainz
Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 2
55131 Mainz

Tel: 06131/218 528-17