The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Informally, an ology is a field of study or academic discipline ending in the suffix -ology.


The word ology is a back-formation from the names of these disciplines. "-logy" basically means "the study of _____". Such words are formed from Greek or Latin roots with the terminal -logy derived from the Greek suffix -λογια (-logia), speaking, from λεγειν (legein), to speak. The word ology is thus misleading as the 'o' is actually part of the word stem that receives the -logy ending. For example, the bio part of biology stems from Greek βιος (bios), life. This is why some of the words do not end in -ology (such as mineralogy).

Other words ending in "ology"

Not all words ending in -ology are ologies in the above sense. In some words such as tautology and haplology, the -logy suffix is from the Greek λογος, word, and denotes not a field of study but a type of speech or writing. For example, haplology means the mistake of saying one letter, syllable or word when two or more are required, as in the example of pronouncing the word February somewhat like "Febuary".

It should also be pointed out that some words mean to study something, but aren't called ologies – midwifery is one example.


Although technically incorrect, "-ology" is sometimes used to describe a subject rather than the study of it. Technology is a typical example. This usage is also widespread in medicine; for example, pathology is often used for specific disease ("We have not found the pathology yet").

"Ology" can be appended to any word, humorously, when describing its study; such as beer-ology or Wiki-ology.

The ending "ologist" is used to describe a person, so biology gives biologist, and so on.

A famous British television commercial of the 1980s has a Jewish student calling his grandmother (played by Maureen Lipman) to confirm his exam results. He is disappointed that he has only passed Sociology, but his grandmother will have none of it. "Anthony," she insists, "if you get an ology, you're a scientist!"

List of -ologies












  • Laryngology , the study of the larynx, or voice box; a branch of medicine
  • Limnology, the study of fresh water environments, particularly lakes
  • Lithology, the study of rocks
  • Lymphology , the study of the lymph system and glands



  • Nanotechnology, the study and design of machines at the molecular level
  • Neonatology, the study of diseases and the care of newborn infants; a branch of pediatrics/paediatrics
  • Nephology, the study of clouds
  • Nephrology, the study of the kidneys and their diseases, a branch of medicine
  • Neurology, the study of nerves
  • Neuropathology, the study of neural diseases
  • Neurophysiology, the study of the functions of the nervous system
  • Nosology, the study of diseases
  • Nostology , the study of ageing and senility, in relation to a return to childish characteristics in old age
  • Numerology, the study of numbers (often in a non-mathematical sense)
  • Numismatology, an old word for numismatics




  • Radiology, the study of rays, usually ionising radiation
  • Reflexology, originally the study of reflexes or of reflex responses; but see also non-study list
  • Rheology, the study of flow
  • Rheumatology, the study of rheumatic diseases, a branch of medicine
  • Rhinology , the study of the nose and its diseases




  • Urology, the study and treatment of diseases of the urogenital tract , a branch of medicine




Ologies that are not fields of study

Words ending in -ology that are not fields of study, and thus not "ologies" in the sense of this article, are:

  • Anthology, a collection of literary pieces (such as poems).
  • Apology
    • a statement of regret.
    • an explanation for or justification of beliefs.
  • Chronology is the arrangement or setting out of past events in order of occurrence; the recording of historical events in date sequence.
  • Cosmetology, the art and career of using cosmetics to improve beauty.
  • Deontology, the ethical theory concerned with duties and rights.
  • Doxology, a spoken or sung end of a prayer.
  • Eulogy, though not an -ology, is a commemoration of a person's life at his/her funeral.
  • Hagiology is literature dealing with the life of a saint or, indeed, any revered person, a biography of an individual, rather than a study of saints, sainthood or saintliness in general.
  • Kibology, joke religion worshiping Kibo.
  • Philology, the historical study of languages. This is not a ology in the strict sense, because it is not the study (-ologia) of love (philo-), but the love (philo-) of literature (logia).
  • Phraseology is the way words are put together, therefore the style being used in a sentence, or the set of phrases or the choice of words used by any particular group of people, a type of register, then, that reflects the form of language used in a certain social situation in which particular subjects are being discussed. Examples of register (phraseology) are: (obscene) slang, legal language (legalese), journalese, the jargon of the racecourse, or the special words or phrases used in certain occupations, as only a few of a very numerous category.
  • Piphilology seems to be a borderline case with some aspects of a field of study, but not a scientific discipline.
  • Reflexology, alternative method of massage, therapy or pressure on certain points of the sole of the feet as a means of relieving nervous tension.
  • Scientology, the belief system/cult religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard, self-described as a study of knowledge.
  • Tautology, a self-affirming truth.
  • Terminology, a set of words and/or phrases, usually in relation to some particular canon or field of study e.g. 'mathematical terminology'.
  • Tetralogy of Fallot, an abnormality of the heart consisting of four deformities that often occur together.
  • Trilogy (although not strictly an -ology) is a body of writing in three parts, as tetralogy is that in four parts. Other words such as pentalogy, hexalogy, and heptalogy or septology cover larger series.
  • Tropology , the use of tropes in speech or writing.
  • Ufology, the study of Unidentified flying object (UFO) phenomena.

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Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46