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  • (UK) IPA(key): /ləˈd͡ʒɪs.tɪk/, /lɒd͡ʒˈɪs.tɪk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ləˈd͡ʒɪs.tɪk/, /loʊˈd͡ʒɪs.tɪk/

Etymology 1[edit]

Original image of a logistic curve, contrasted with a logarithmic curve.

From French logistique, from Ancient Greek λογιστικός (logistikós, practiced in arithmetic; rational), from λογίζομαι (logízomai, I reason, I calculate), from λόγος (lógos, reason, computation), whence English logos, logic, logarithm, etc.; modern mathematical use influenced by related logarithmic.

Sense of “logistic function” by Pierre François Verhulst (1845) in French, then borrowed into English.[1] Verhulst does not explain his choice of naming, but he contrasts it with the logarithmic curve (also from λόγος (lógos)), and it is presumably by analogy with arithmetic and geometric (other divisions of mathematics), as his discussion of arithmetic growth and geometric growth precede his discussion of logistic growth.[2]

The term logistic and logistical also found occasional mathematical use in English prior to 1800, from the same Greek origin.


logistic (not comparable)

  1. (mathematics) Relating to symbolic logic.
  2. (statistics) Relating to the logistic function.
  3. (mathematics, obsolete) Using sexagesimal fractions, especially in arithmetic or logarithms.[3]
  4. (mathematics, obsolete) Relating to basic arithmetic.[3]
    • 1730 July, J. P. Biester, “Decreasing Logarithms”, in The Present State of the Republick of Letters, volume 6, page 103:
      If we compare the calculus of a triangle, by the logistic logarithms …
  5. (mathematics, obsolete) Skilled in calculating.
  6. (mathematics, obsolete) Proportional.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


logistic (countable and uncountable, plural logistics)

  1. (countable, mathematics) A logistic function or graph of a logistic curve.
  2. (uncountable, mathematics, obsolete) The art of calculation.
  3. (uncountable, mathematics, obsolete) Sexagesimal arithmetic.


  1. ^ Verhulst, Pierre-François (1845) “Recherches mathématiques sur la loi d'accroissement de la population [Mathematical Researches into the Law of Population Growth Increase]”, in Nouveaux Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences et Belles-Lettres de Bruxelles[1], volume 18, retrieved 2013-02-18, page 8 of 1–42:Nous donnerons le nom de logistique à la courbe // We will give the name logistic to the curve
  2. ^ Verhulst first refers to arithmetic progression and geometric progression, and refers to the geometric growth curve as a logarithmic curve (confusingly, the modern term is instead exponential curve, which is the inverse). He then calls his curve logistic, in contrast to logarithmic, and compares the logarithmic curve and logistic curve in the figure of his paper.
  3. 3.0 3.1 A New Complete English Dictionary, D. Bellamy, Gordon, 1760, p. 503

Etymology 2[edit]

From French logistique, from loger (to lodge) or logis (lodging place).[1]


logistic (not comparable)

  1. (operations) Relating to logistics.


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

Derived terms[edit]




Borrowed from French logistique.


logistic m or n (feminine singular logistică, masculine plural logistici, feminine and neuter plural logistice)

  1. logistical
  2. logistic