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From Ancient Greek γλῶσσα (glôssa, tongue; language) +‎ -ology.


  • Hyphenation: gloss‧o‧lo‧gy


glossology (countable and uncountable, plural glossologies)

  1. (medicine) The diagnosis of disease by examination of the tongue.
    • 1843, Benjamin Ridge, Glossology, Or, The Additional Means of Diagnosis of Disease to be Derived From Indications and Appearances of the Tongue, page 58:
      The laws of nature in the increase of morbid actions are not to be counteracted by so simple a manipulation: the natural removal of this appearance can alone effect this. The science of glossology is inseparably connectecd with this natural law;
    • 1844, Massachusetts Medical Society, The New England Medical Journal. Volume 30[1], page 248:
      [] and he argues that the nature and seat of diseases may be detected and discriminated by cultivating this new science of glossology
    • 1863, Good Words and Sunday Magazine - Volume 4, page 11:
      Had we, from our public hospitals, numerous photographs of tongues exhibiting a connexion between their unclean phases and the diseases of their possessors, we should have considered Glossology as a valuable element of diagnosis ;
    • 1983, Robert Stanley Blacklow, MacBryde's Signs and symptoms:
      Indeed, by 1844, glossology had become so important a part of the medical art that a physician named Dr. Benjamin Ridge proposed the fantastic theory that the viscera were represented by definite areas on the tongue and that an abnormality in a viscus was reflected in this predetermined area.
    • 1989, Tse-lin Ch'en, Zelin Chen, & Mei-Fang Chen, The essence and scientific background of tongue diagnosis, page 4:
      Moreover, the Classic of Internal Medicine recorded that tongue diagnosis, or glossology, can be used to predict the prognosis of a disease.
  2. The definition and explanation of terms in constructing a glossary.
    • 1883, George Ripley & ‎Charles Anderson Dana, The American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary for General Knowledge:
      Though we have doubts whether we possess the treatise Be Vulgari Eloquio as Dante wrote it, inclining rather to think that it is a copy in some parts textually exact, in others an abstract, there can be no question either of its great glossologies!
    • 1981, Fred Warren Riggs, Interconcept report: a new paradigm for solving the terminology problems of the social sciences, Volumes 44-53:
      If the indexed items are core terms for descriptive glossology, they are underlined, and their definitions will be found in Annex V, in a record indicated by the notation preceding the index term.
    • 1992, Karola Dillenburger, Violent bereavement: widows in Northern Ireland, ISBN 1856283003, page 198:
      And in the sanctified, post-exorcist intercourse which leads to conception, Margrethe appears 'obediently', speaking in initiated, divine tongues, interpreted by 'the friends': glossology.
    • 2012, E. Spiegelberg, The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction, ISBN 9400974914, page 8:
      Among such phenomenologies Whewell mentions particularly phenomenological uranology, phenomenological geography of plants and animals, and even a phenomenological glossology.
  3. The naming of parts of plants.
    • 1828, John Claudius Loudon, The Gardener's Magazine and Register of Rural and Domestic Improvement:
      I think they would answer the end in view much better if they were in Greek characters; it would be far more conducive to a general knowledge of botanical glossology, and a greater stimulus to the student.
    • 1844, J.C. Loudon, An Encyclopædia of Agriculture:
      These, with their modifications, and all the relative circumstances which enter into the botanical description of a plant, constitute the subject of glossology, or the study of the language of botony
    • 1848, Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, page 4:
      The chief excellencies of the book are its anatomical illustrations : its faults are, the needless alteration of established names ; the introduction of unnecessary glossology ; and the multiplication of Orders, genera, and species, ...
    • 1985, Emmanuel Le Maout, ‎Joseph Decaisne, ‎& Frances Hooker, A General System of Botany, Descriptive and Analytical:
      ... sooner recognized than a new term is invented for it, so that the sume organ has received several names; and, to add to the complication, the same name has been on several occasions applied to different organs. This redundant glossology which even Linnaeus termed a calamity (' Verbositas prsesente seculo calamitas scientist ') has always proved an obstacle to the progress of science.
  4. The science of language; linguistics.
    • 1841, Roswell Park, Pantology: Or, A Systematic Survey of Human Knowledge[2], page 42:
      If all nations spoke one and the same language, much of the time now spent in the study of Glossology, would be saved.
    • 2007, Q. Edward Wang, ‎Franz L. Fillafer, ‎& Georg G. Iggers, The Many Faces of Clio, ISBN 1845452704:
      Erudition has been divided by a German professor into glossology, bibliology and historiology; or a knowledge of languages, a knowledge of books, and a knowledge of facts.
    • 2012, John Beames, Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India, ISBN 1108048145:
      I think it will be admitted by all philologists that any other assumption would be irreconcileable, not only with the fundamental principles of modern Aryan glossology, but with the universal laws of language.
    • 2013, Brian Houghton Hodgson, Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepál and Tibet, ISBN 1108056083:
      The same may, in fact, be said of most other papers by Mr. Hodgson, especailly those on the Tribes and Languages of the Norther Non-Aryans adjacent to India, which ar scattered over periodicals now scare and little accessible, and would be well worth preserving in a collected form, inasmuch as on all these questions, both those treate in the present volume and those bearing on the ethnology and glossology of the Himalayan tribes, he has almost exclusively remained master of a field of research in which he had been the first to break ground.


Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for glossology in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)