I just retagged (well, I don't have retag privileges, so queued an edit for voting) a question that had the tag to but then I noticed there are 70-odd other such questions.

Should that be a synonym, then?

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Looking at the questions tagged , I see a number of questions that should be tagged (probably most of them). However, I don't think all of the questions belong in etymology, for example:

These questions are about historical things, but they aren't about words.

Incidentally, I actually disagree with the response in Usage of the "history" tag, that looking at the evolution/origin of a class of words is not etymology; I think it is.

In any case, I guess the question we should ask is if the tag is useful enough to stand on its own. Clearly, people are using the tag instead of , so there is widespread confusion about the tag. That said, I would not want to see the questions I have listed above to be tagged ; that would be flat-out wrong. If became a synonym for , I fear we might end up with questions like the above getting that tag.

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  • Excellent examples. Yes, the two tags are distinct. – Mitch Apr 14 '11 at 14:30
  • +1, yeah they are 2 different things. People get confused but I'd be against any proposal about removing any of those two. – Alenanno Apr 14 '11 at 17:43
  • My concern is that if the majority of history-tagged questions should be etymology-tagged, then the tag isn't very useful. Perhaps we block the tag (there are banned tags, AIUI) instead. – Richard Gadsden Apr 15 '11 at 9:36
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    @Richard Gadsden: I agree about the problem of people misusing the tag, but, for example, the question "Why did English become a universal language and when?" is tagged usage and history. I don't think the question would be better off with only the usage tag. – Kosmonaut Apr 15 '11 at 15:03

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