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Argument from etymology

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For the record: This is untrue. The word "universe" more accurately translates to "all things into one," because it is where all things are found.[1]
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An argument from etymology is an informal logical fallacy typically used by fundamentalist Christians, which attempts to prove something through pointing out the etymology of the word being used as opposed to actually making the case based on substance.

Why it doesn't make sense[edit]

Being as generous as possible, modern English began around the sixteenth century.[2] Given how much science has advanced in that time, it is understandable that many of our phrases might come off as outdated as new scientific knowledge proves the assumptions that caused us to first use them incorrectly. However, many still keep using the factually incorrect expressions, whether because of tradition, because of convenience, or because it still expresses a metaphorical truth even if it fails to express a factual one.

A good example of this is the phrase "broken heart," which comes from the notion that the human heart is the center of all emotions.[3] In truth, all the heart actually does is circulate blood throughout one's body,[4] with one's emotions actually coming from the hypothalamus in the brain.[5] In the same regard, the etymology of "disaster" comes from the Italian disastro, meaning "ill-starred", because it used to be believed that natural disasters were the result of certain stars.[6]


During one lecture, Kent Hovind attempted to prove that the universe was created by God through saying the word "universe" means "singular spoken sentence."[7] This was also used by creationist Joshua Feuerstein, who claimed the word "universe" means "a single spoken statement."[8] The Amazing Atheist parodied this argument in one video through claiming the word "galaxy" means God is real because when a woman is being murdered by an axe she screams "Oh God!"[9] Flat Earthers often claim that NASA in hebrew means "to deceive". They cite that transliteration of נָשָׁא being Nāšā. What they fail to realise is that it is pronounced "naw-shaw". A closer sounding word in hebrew is נָשָׂא, which translates to either "lift, carry or to take" and is pronounced "naw-saw".