The term “research” comes from the Old French word “recerchier,” which means “to seek out” or “to search closely.” This is derived from the Latin roots “re-” meaning “again” and “circare,” meaning “to go around” or “to wander.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*kers-” means “to run.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “circare” developed, meaning “to go around” or “to wander.” The prefix “re-” means “again,” forming “recercare” in Medieval Latin, meaning “to search closely again.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “recercare” evolved into Old French “recerchier,” meaning “to seek out” or “to search closely.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “recerchier” was adopted into Middle English as “researchen,” meaning “to seek out” or “to investigate.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “research” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meaning of “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “research” has remained relatively stable from Middle English to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Research is often used to describe the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources.”
  • “Another example of ‘research’ in a sentence is ‘She conducted extensive research on the topic before writing her thesis.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “research” was significantly influenced by the rise of scientific inquiry and the emphasis on systematic investigation during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods.

The word “research” reflects the concept of systematic investigation and study, emphasizing the importance of thorough and methodical examination in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.