General English

Origin & History of “chronicle”

English has a number of words derived from Greek khrónos ‘time’, among them chronology (16th c.), chronometer ‘timepiece’ (18th c.), and crony. And from its adjective kronikós ‘of time’ comes English chronic (15th c.), by way of Latin chronicus, which in medieval times picked up the medical connotations which characterize the word today. Greek bíblia khroniká meant ‘books about time’; hence khroniká came to be used on its own for ‘historical records’, passing via Latin chronica and Old French chronique to Anglo-Norman, where it acquired a new ending, cronicle. English took it over, and restored the Latin ch- spelling in the 16th century.