Anatoly Liberman

FM Liberman meets with US Secretary of State i...

FM Liberman meets with US Secretary of State in Jerusalem (Photo credit: IsraelMFA)

Anatoly Liberman – Анатолий Симонович Либерман (born 1937) is a professor in the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses in linguisticsetymology, and folklore. Liberman is a native of St. PetersburgRussia. His main graduate works, written under the auspices of the philologist Mikhail Steblin-Kamensky, focused on Middle English and Icelandic phonetics. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1975.

Liberman has written and edited several books and has produced hundreds of smaller works, most of them aimed at a scholarly audience. He wrote Germanic Accentology (1982) and translated and edited Writings on Literature by Nikolai TrubetzkoyMikhail Lermontov: Major Poetical Works (1983), and On the Heights of Creation: The Lyrics of Fedor Tyutchev. His articles include „The Phonetic Organization of Early Germanic“ (American Journal of Germanic Languages and Literature, 1992) and „Gone with the Wind: More Thoughts on Medieval Farting“ (Scandinavian Studies, 1996).

Liberman’s primary interest has been the history of English words. In 2005, he published a popular book for lay readers entitled Word Origins… and How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone (Oxford University Press, 2005). After several years‘ work, his An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2008. He has also collected more than 20,000 articles for A Bibliography of English Etymology.

In addition to his scholarly work, Liberman is a poet, writing mostly in Russian, and a translator of Russian poetry.


  • Liberman, AnatolyAn Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology: An Introduction. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2008,ISBN 978-0-81665272-3.
    • This unique resource discusses the main problems in the methodology of etymological research and contains indexes of subjects, names, and all of the root words. Each entry is a full-fledged article, shedding light for the first time on the source of some of the most widely disputed word origins in the English language.
  • Liberman, Anatoly. A Bibliography of English Etymology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
    • A broadly conceptualized reference tool that provides source materials for etymological research. For each word’s etymology, there is a bibliographic entry that lists the word origin’s primary sources, specifically, where it was first found in use. Featuring the history of more than 13,000 English words, their cognates, and their foreign antonyms, this is a full-fledged compendium of resources indispensable to any scholar of word origins.

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