"Anglish" is a variation on modern English that avoids or replaces all words that have non-Anglo-Saxon roots.

I'm working on a story where I'll need to convert a lot of dialogue (just for a single character) into the Anglish register of English – omitting loan words of French, Latin & Greek origin, among other things. Many of the relevant resources I've found are written in Anglish, which makes them supremely difficult to navigate in the same way as a stock thesaurus, and the single automated converter I found has very little in the way of context sensitivity and frequently mistranslates.

Are there any easy-to-access tools I can use to determine the etymology of words on the fly? Any beginner-friendly Anglish glossaries or dictionaries online? Some kind of thesaurus tool with the ability to sort by origin would be a godsend. Thank you in advance!

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    Does your character limit vocabulary for reasons other than elitism and xenophobia? I worked on a project whose standard excluded basic English words that centuries ago came from Latin, e.g., either etcetera or etc. Also, that abbreviation (e.g.). Jan 8, 2021 at 18:18
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    @YosefBaskin Erm, what do you mean? My use of the register is intended to create a particular rhythm and cadence that distinguishes the character in question, not make any value judgement on what's the "correct" way to communicate, or anything like that.
    – dweeblet
    Jan 9, 2021 at 5:03
  • How will your reader notice that the character uses no 'foreign' words? Jan 9, 2021 at 22:42
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    @YosefBaskin They probably won't, at least not consciously. The character in question is functionally a sentient curse, so it's a creative choice that -- perhaps ironically -- helps to make the way she speaks feel foreign and off-kilter to the modern listener's ear.
    – dweeblet
    Jan 10, 2021 at 6:00
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    @WeckarE. Nope -- I'm sure there are some extreme versions of the register that forbid those words, but as I understand the most common practice is in the avoidance of words with Latinate & Greek origins specifically.
    – dweeblet
    Jan 11, 2021 at 18:17

3 Answers 3


Some handy resources I dug up for Anglish learning and translation include:


To check any word, buy access to the OED or browse the OED through your local public or university library for free. It gives the etymology of every English word.

To restrict yourself to Anglo-Saxon words only, use an Anglo-Saxon dictionary, e.g. Joseph Bosworth's, or word lists such as the Wikipedia list of English words of Anglo-Saxon origin.

  1. Beware words starting with re, it's likely French.

  2. You can Google most words and it'll give you the roots. It's not a flawless way, you will have better luck speaking true Anglish if you break a word down as you Google it. "Quick" instead of "quickly" It is greenlit but Google wouldn't say. Google everything and learn if anything is wrong.

  3. https://rootsenglish.miraheze.org/wiki/Anglish_Wordbook This is the wordbook (Dictionary) that is thought of as the best.

  4. https://anglish.fandom.com/wiki/English_Wordbook/I Else, you may look at this. It is not flawless but it will help.

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