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    Borrowed from Latin biologia (1766), itself from Ancient Greek βίος (bíos, bio-, life) +‎ -λογία (-logía, -logy, branch of study, to speak). Equivalent to bio- +‎ -logy. In English, first attested in the modern meaning in the work of English physician Thomas Beddoes in 1799. The term is also recorded in the sense of "a biographical history" in the work of Dudley Loftus in 1686, but this is considered by the Oxford English Dictionary to be an isolated use.[1] The modern Greek βιολογία (viología) is borrowed from the English term and French biologie via international scientific vocabulary. Piecewise doublet of zoology.





    biology (countable and uncountable, plural biologies)

    1. The study of all life or living matter.
      Synonyms: life science, life sciences, lifelore (rare); see also Thesaurus:biology
      • 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
    4. (archaic) A biographical history.
      • 1912, J. H. Rose, C[harles] H[arold] Herford, E[dward] C[arter] K[earsey] Gonner, M[ichael] E[rnest] Sadler, Germany in the Nineteenth Century: Five Lectures, Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, Inc., page 67:
        That a Town has a biology of its own has been, since Freeman and Green, a familiar idea to us. But it was not in England, with its old established central governments, that the idea was likely to arise; and we know what the local history of our old antiquaries was like.

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    1. ^ biology, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.