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Etymology edit

A classical compound, being a naturalization into English via the German Biologie from the New Latin coinage biologia, with components derived from Ancient Greek βίος (bíos, bio-, life) +‎ -λογία (-logía, -logy, branch of study, to speak). The term *βιολογία (*biología) did not exist in Ancient Greek. The New Latin word was coined in the 18th century but did not yet have the sense that it now has. That sense was developed circa 1800 when the German word Biologie was naturalized from the New Latin word; see Wikipedia at History of biology § Use of the term biology for the details. The modern sibling cognates came into various European languages in the 19th century (e.g., French biologie, English biology). As the scientific era progressed in the 19th century, the modern surface analysis of the English word developed, as a compound using the combining forms bio- +‎ -logy. As for modern Greek βιολογία (viología): it is borrowed from both English and French biologie via international scientific vocabulary. Piecewise doublet of zoology.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

biology (countable and uncountable, plural biologies)

  1. The study of all life or living matter.
    • 2012 January, Robert M. Pringle, “How to Be Manipulative”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 1, archived from the original on 3 October 2013, page 31:
      As in much of biology, the most satisfying truths in ecology derive from manipulative experimentation. Tinker with nature and quantify how it responds.
  2. The living organisms of a particular region.
    • 1893, “Prizes for original work with the microscope”, in Proceedings of the American Microscopical Society[2], volume 14, page 38:
      The object of these prizes is to stimulate and encourage original investigation by the aid of the microscope in the biology of North America, and, while the competition is open to all, it is especially commended to advanced students in biology in such of our universities and colleges as furnish opportunity for suitable work.
  3. The structure, function, and behavior of an organism or type of organism.
    the biology of the whale

Synonyms edit

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Meronyms edit

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