In the mid 1870s, Friedrich Kluge spent four semesters in Leipzig studying comparative linguistics and classical philology under the Neogrammarians Georg Curtius, Friedrich Zarncke, Hermann Osthoff, and Wilhelm Braune. Although Kluge applied and refined their methods for many years to come, he was even more deeply impressed by another teacher in Leipzig, the non-Neogrammarian Rudolf Hildebrand. Within the context of Kluge's famous Etymologisches Wörterbuch, of which Kluge oversaw the first (1881–1883) through the tenth (1924) editions, this article asks: In what way did Hildebrand's research come to bear on Kluge's own work? And to what extent did Kluge acknowledge Hildebrand's influence? The answer to the first question entails a fundamental shift in Kluge's view on the goal of etymology, while the response to the second one, which must also be pursued in other writings by Kluge, can be interpreted further by examining certain statements made by Kluge in the dictionary.