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There are of course many physics dictionaries and glossaries and some words can be found in general etymological dictionaries and even English dictionaries; but is there a Physics Etymological Dictionary, such as there is for math?

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After going through so many etymological dictionaries of science (mainly chemistry & mathematics), I still feel that the unabridged Oxford Dictionary is the best. It is not available for public use but one can buy subscription for a year. Most universities have it.

There you can find the etymology for sure, the best part is that you can see the earliest use with original reference.

For example, you might wish to see who introduced the term "flavor" in particle physics?

Here is what a typical entry looks like:

Particle Physics. [An arbitrary choice of name.] A quantized property of quarks which differentiates them into (at least) six varieties (called up and down, charmed and strange, top and bottom) and which can be changed by the weak interaction; an analogous property of leptons which differentiates the electron, the muon, the tau, and their respective neutrinos. Also, a quark or lepton of a particular flavour.

1975 Sci. Amer. Oct. 38/1 In the whimsical terminology that has evolved for the discussion of quarks they are said to come in four flavors, and each flavor is said to come in three colors. (‘Flavor’ and ‘color’ are, of course, arbitrary labels; they have no relation to the usual meanings of those words.)

1975 Sci. Amer. Oct. 38/1 In the whimsical terminology that has evolved for the discussion of quarks they are said to come in four flavors, and each flavor is said to come in three colors. (‘Flavor’ and ‘color’ are, of course, arbitrary labels; they have no relation to the usual meanings of those words.)

1978 Nature 2 Feb. 406/2 The quarks in the proton and neutron are of two varieties (or flavours), ‘up’ (u) and ‘down’ (d).

1980 Sci. Amer. July 60/1 For almost 20 years it has been well established that there are at least two flavors, or kinds, of neutrino; one flavor can appear only in association with an electron and the other is always created together with a muon.

1981 M. Gell-Mann in J. H. Mulvey Nature of Matter viii. 176 The electromagnetic and weak forces are ‘flavour forces’: the electric charge of a particle depends on its flavour; weak forces are flavour exchange forces.

1981 Sci. Amer. Feb. 65/1 A total of five flavors have definitely been observed (they are called up, down, strange, charm and bottom) and the existence of a sixth flavor (top) is all but certain.

1982 Sci. Amer. Nov. 134/1 Charm, like up, down and strange, is a quark flavor.

1985 Sci. Amer. Apr. 66/3 Like leptons, the quarks experience weak interactions that change one species, or flavor, into another.

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Asimov wrote one.

edit

Ooops, he wrote two

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