Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



The word glossology comes from the Ancient Greek word γλῶσσα (glôssa), meaning “tongue” or “language”.

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



glossology (countable and uncountable, plural glossologies)

  1. The science of language; linguistics.
    • 1813 March, “Art. VII. The Lives of John Selden, Esq. and Archbishop Usher, with Notes of the Principal English Men of Letters with whom They were Connected. By John Aikin, M.D. 8vo. pp. 450. 10s. 6d. Boards. Mathews and Leigh. 1812.”, in The Monthly Review; or Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume LXX, London: Sold by Becket and Porter, booksellers, in Pall Mall, OCLC 298518104, page 285:
      Erudition has been divided by a German professor into glossology, bibliology and historiology; or a knowledge of languages, a knowlege[sic – meaning knowledge] of languages, a knowlege of books, and a knowlege of facts.
    • 1841, Roswell Park, “I. Department: Glossology”, in Pantology: Or, A Systematic Survey of Human Knowledge; [...], Philadelphia, Pa.: Hogan & Thompson, 30 North Fourth Street, OCLC 873157346, 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.
    • 1874, B[rian] H[oughton] Hodgson, “Notice”, in Essays on the Languages, Literature, and Religion of Nepál and Tibet: Together with Further Papers on the Geography, Ethnology, and Commerce of those Countries. [...] Reprinted, with Corrections and Additions, from “Illustrations of the Literature and Religion of the Buddhists,” Serampore, 1841; and “Selections from the Records of the Government of Bengal, No. XXVII.”, Calcutta, 1857, London: Trübner & Co., 57 & 59, Ludgate Hill, OCLC 156072429, page vi:
      [O]n all these questions, both those treated of in the present volume and those bearing on the ethnology and glossology of the Himalayan tribes, he [Brian Houghton Hodgson] has almost exclusively remained master of a field of research in which he had been the first to break ground.
    • 1875, John Beames, “Declension”, in Comparative Grammar of the Modern Aryan Languages of India: To Wit, Hindi, Panjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Marathi, Oṛiya and Bangali, volume II (The Noun and Pronoun), London: Trübner & Co., 57 & 59, Ludgate Hill, OCLC 416425626, § 55 (Case-affixes), page 249:
      It may be assumed as a starting-point, that the case-affixes are remnants of nouns or perhaps pronouns, which have been cut down and worn away by use. 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.
  2. (botany) The naming of parts of plants.
    • 1824, J[ohn] C[laudius] Loudon, “Glossology, or the Names of the Parts of Plants”, in An Encyclopædia of Gardening; Comprising the Theory and Practice of Horticulture, Floriculture, Arboriculture, and Landscape-gardening, including All the Latest Improvements; a General History of Gardening in All Countries; and a Statistical View of Its Present State, with Suggestions for Its Future Progress, in the British Isles, 2nd enlarged edition, London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row, OCLC 829300625, page 122:
      A plant in flower, surveyed externally, may be perceived to be composed of a variety of obvious parts, such as the root, the stem, the branch, the leaf, the flower, the fruit, and perhaps the seed; and other parts less obvious, as buds, prickles, tendils, hairs, glands, &c. These, with their modifications, and all the relative circumstances which enter into the botanical description of a plant, constitute the subject of glossology, the details of which, involving the definition of some hundreds of terms, are here omitted; because to those conversant to them it would be of little use, and those who have them still to learn will find it more convenient to have recourse to some elementary work, where most of them are illustrated by figures.
    • 1827 August 17, J. P., “Art. VIII. Retrospective Criticism.”, in J[ohn] C[laudius] Loudon, editor, The Gardener’s Magazine, and Register of Rural & Domestic Improvement, volume III, number 11, London: Printed for Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster-Row, published January 1828, OCLC 318191831, part III (Miscellaneous Intelligence), page 370:
      I beg leave to differ from you in printing the etymology of names that are from the Greek in English, and not in Greek letters. 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.
    • 1852 July, William Henry Harvey, “Sub-class II. Rhodospermeæ, or Red Algæ”, in Nereis Boreali-Americana: Or, Contributions to a History of the Marine Algæ of North America (Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge; volume V, article 5), Washington, D.C.: Published by the Smithsonian Institution; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam & Co., published March 1853, OCLC 769033393, pages 4–5:
      In 1843 [Friedrich Traugott] Kützing published his "Phycologia Generalis", accompanied by eighty anatomical plates of unrivalled excellence and beauty. [] 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, many of them grouping together plants but little related, and others separating nearly allied species.
    • 1876, Emm[anuel] Le Maout; J[oseph] Decaisne; [Frances Harriet Henslow] Hooker, transl., “Class III.—Acotyledons.”, in Jos[eph] D[alton] Hooker, editor, A General System of Botany Descriptive and Analytical. In Two Parts. Part I.—Outlines of Organography, Anatomy, and Physiology. Part II.—Descriptions and Illustrations of the Orders, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., OCLC 2588477, section XIV (Algæ, Jussieu, Agardh, Lamouroux, Kützing, &c.), page 983:
      Amongst the causes which have contributed to obscure this branch of Botany, we must especially allude to the prevalence of the habit indulged in by many authors of creating a special nomenclature without regard to that of their predecessors; the slightest structural modification is no sooner recognized than a new term is invented for it, so that the same 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 [Carl] Linnæus termed a calamity ('Verbositas præsente seculo calamitas scientiæ') has always proved an obstacle to the progress of science.
  3. (chiefly lexicography) The definition and explanation of terms in constructing a glossary.
    • 1981, Fred W[arren] Riggs, Interconcept Report: A New Paradigm for Solving the Terminology Problems of the Social Sciences, Volumes 44-53 (Reports and Papers in the Social Sciences; 47), Paris: UNESCO, OCLC 902861409, page 45:
      If the indexed items (E3) are core terms for descriptive glossology (C4), 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, Aldershot, Hampshire: Avebury, →ISBN, 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.
    • 1994, Herbert Spiegelberg; Karl Schuhmann, “Introduction”, in The Phenomenological Movement: A Historical Introduction, 3rd rev. and enlarged edition, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/978-94-009-7491-3, →ISBN, page 8:
      A similar and more influential use of the term can be found in William Whewell's Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences (1847), where phenomenology occurs in the context of the "palaetiological sciences" (i.e., sciences which deal with more ancient conditions of things), as that branch of these studies which is to be followed by aetiology and theory. Among such phenomenologies Whewell mentions particularly phenomenological uranology, phenomenological geography of plants and animals, and even a phenomenological glossology.
  4. (medicine) The diagnosis of disease by examination of the tongue.
    • 1843 November 4, Benjamin Ridge, “Preface”, in Glossology: Or The Additional Means of Diagnosis of Disease to be Derived From Indications and Appearances of the Tongue. Read before the Senior Physical Society of Guy’s Hospital, 4th November, 1843, London: John Churchill, Princes Street, Soho, published 1844, OCLC 11255261, pages 8–9:
      To those who doubt the value of a well-defined system of Glossology I would say—let them account for the different appearances of the tongue in scarlet-fever and measles: why in the former it is red, and in the latter limaceous, or white; []
    • 1844 April 24, “New Medical Works”, in Jerome V[an] C[roninsfield] Smith, editor, The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, volume XXX, number 12, Boston, Mass.: D. Clapp, Jr. proprietor and publisher, corner of Washington and Franklin Streets, OCLC 224453696, page 248:
      He [Benjamin Ridge] professes to have reduced the examination of the tongue for purposes of diagnosis to a system. [] [H]e describes the dyspeptic, febrile, inflammatory, cerebral, rheumatic, pulmonary and cardiac tongue, &c., and he argues that the nature and seat of diseases may be detected and discriminated by cultivating this new science of glossology, even when neither the other physical or rational signs are suffcient for a true diagnosis.
    • 1863, Norman Macleod, editor, Good Words and Sunday Magazine, volume IV, London: A. Strahan and Co., OCLC 741480505, page 11, column 2:
      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; []
    • 1952, Richard W. Vilter, “Sore Tongue and Sore Mouth”, in Cyril Mitchell MacBryde, editor, Signs and symptoms: Applied Pathologic Physiology and Clinical Interpretation, 2nd edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: J. B. Lippincott Company, OCLC 981341916, page 57:
      With the medical renaissance of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, observations on the state of the tongue and the mouth became as important as the taking of the pulse. Indeed, by 1844, glossology had become so important a part of the medical art that a 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, Zelin Chen; Mei-Fang Chen, The Essence and Scientific Background of Tongue Diagnosis [舌診研究], Long Beach, Calif.: Oriental Healing Arts Institute, →ISBN, page 4:
      Moreover, the Classic of Internal Medicine recorded that tongue diagnosis, or glossology, can be used to predict the prognosis of a disease.


Derived terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]