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See also: ergonòmics


An 1851 photographic portrait of Polish scientist Wojciech Jastrzębowski (1799–1882) by Maksymilian Fajans. Jastrzębowski used the term ergonomji in an 1857 article, which was probably the basis of the English word ergonomics.


ergo- (prefix indicating work) +‎ -nomics (suffix indicating the rules of a discipline), probably modelled after Polish ergonomia (ergonomics) (used by Polish scientist Wojciech Jastrzębowski (1799–1882) in an 1857 article),[1] from Ancient Greek ἔργον (érgon, work) + νόμος (nómos, custom; law, ordinance). The English word is widely regarded as having been introduced by British psychologist K. F. Hywel Murrell at a meeting at the Admiralty in London in July 1949, which led to the establishment of the Ergonomics Research Society (now The Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors) on 17 September 1949.



ergonomics (uncountable)

  1. The science of the design of equipment, especially so as to reduce operator fatigue, discomfort and injury. [from c. 1950.]
    Ergonomics is increasingly important in office-product design.
    • 1990, “Ergonomic Aspects of Computer Use”, in Allen Kent, James G. Williams, editors, Encyclopedia of Microcomputers, volume 6 (Electronic Dictionaries in Machine Translation to Evaluation of Software: Microsoft Word Version 4.0), New York, N.Y.: Marcel Dekker, →ISBN, page 325:
      Ergonomics, deriving from the Greek word "ergon" work is now mainly considered to mean "the science of designing machines and environments that are most suited to the efficiency, comfort, safety and peace of mind of those working with them" (see Armbruster, 1983). [] Ergonomics goes beyond the prevention of health hazards, it aims to optimize the coexistence between people and technology within the working environment. [] In the broad sense of the word, ergonomics includes all the physical, social, and psychological aspects of work and workplace design.
    • 1993, Carlos C. Lorenzana, “The Quality of Work Life”, in Management Theory and Practice, Manila, Philippines: Rex Book Store, published May 1998, →ISBN, pages 117–118:
      Experts now contend that problems at work – low productivity, health hazards, accidents, high turn over – may well have their genesis in the work environment – the result of ignorance of ergonomics. The essence of ergonomics is to design or redesign the work and the work environment to fit people. It aims to ensure that work procedures, tools, equipment and environment are safe, efficient and comfortable by applying engineering, physiological, psychological and anatomical knowledge.
    • 2012, Vivek D[attaray] Bhise, “Introduction to Automotive Ergonomics”, in Ergonomics in the Automotive Design Process, Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, →ISBN, page 4:
      After the fuel economy crisis of the 1970s, the U.S. automotive industry began placing more emphasis on both the aerodynamics and ergonomics fields to satisfy customers' energy-saving and comfort/convenience needs. [] Ergonomics involves "fitting the equipment to the people (or users)." This means the equipment should be designed such that people (population of users) can fit comfortably (naturally) within the equipment and they can use the equipment without any awkward body postures, movements, or errors.
  2. (economics, rare) Political economy.


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  1. ^ Wojciech Jastrzębowski (1857) “Rys ergonomji czyli nauki o pracy opartej na prawdach poczerpniętych z nauki przyrody [Outline of Ergonomics, or the Science of Work Based upon the Truths Drawn from the Science of Nature]”, in Przyroda i Przemysł: Tygodnik poświęcony przystępnemu wykładowi wszystkich gałęzi nauk przyrodzonych, praktycznemu ich zastosowaniu do potrzeb życia, tudzież najnowszym odkryciom i wynalazkom [Nature and Industry], numbers 29–32, Poznań: nakładem i czcionkami Ludwika Merzbacha, →OCLC.

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