I love history and I could spend all my time researching. Today I went to the used book store to find a book on the origins of words. Just my luck there was a and Used Book S retired English major working in the book store and we looked through a lot of dictionaries before she found two that were what I was looking for. And all for the low price of two bucks! I have some newer dictionaries but they did not give where the word originated from.
For example the word inanimate comes from Late Latin- inanimatus.
animate=endowed, alive, spiritless.
The two dictionaries I found are:
Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language College Edition 1957
Webster's 7th New Collegiate Dictionary 1970
So if you have some old dictionaries, don't throw them out! They may come in handy.
Once you learn what prefixes, suffixes and root words mean you can pretty well figure out the meaning of other words.
Another thing I like to get at the Used Bookstore at our library is used magazines. these are really good if you are looking for a certain era. right now I am building a Southern Plantation in my head and am trying to equip it with the furniture they would have in that time period. I have old Southern Accent magazines that have what I need and all for twenty-five cents. I also help by donating my old books and magazines.