Etymology
Advertisement
biology (n.)

"the science of life and living things," 1819, from Greek bios "life, one's life, lifetime" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live;" see bio-) + -logy "study of." Suggested 1802 by German naturalist Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, and introduced as a scientific term that year in French by Lamarck; they seem to have hit upon the word independently.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
sociobiology (n.)
"study of the biological basis of social behavior," 1946, from socio- + biology. Related: Sociobiological.
Related entries & more 
astrobiology (n.)
1903, from French astrobiologie; see astro- "star" + biology. Related: Astrobiological; astrobiologist.
Related entries & more 
microbiology (n.)

"the science of micro-organisms," 1880, coined in English from micro- + biology. Related: Microbiological.

Related entries & more 
biologism (n.)
"interpretation of human life from a strictly biological point of view," 1852; see biology + -ism. Related: Biologistic.
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
biologist (n.)
"a student of the science of life," 1813, from biology + -ist. Earliest use is in reference to human life (with the Greek sense of bios); in its modern scientific sense by 1874. Biologian is attested from 1865.
Related entries & more 
biological (adj.)
"pertaining to the science of life," 1840, from biology + -ical. Biological clock, "innate mechanism that regulates cyclic activities of living things," is attested from 1955; not especially of human reproductive urges until c. 1991. Biological warfare is from 1946. Related: Biologically. Alternative adjective biologic is from 1850.
Related entries & more 
bio- 
word-forming element, especially in scientific compounds, meaning "life, life and," or "biology, biology and," or "biological, of or pertaining to living organisms or their constituents," from Greek bios "one's life, course or way of living, lifetime" (as opposed to zoe "animal life, organic life"), from PIE root *gwei- "to live." The correct usage is that in biography, but since c. 1800 in modern science it has been extended to mean "organic life," as zoo-, the better choice, is restricted in modern use to animal, as opposed to plant, life. Both are from the same PIE root. Compare biology.
Related entries & more 
*gwei- 
also *gweie-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to live."

It forms all or part of: abiogenesis; aerobic; amphibian; anaerobic; azo-; azoic; azotemia; bio-; biography; biology; biome; bionics; biopsy; biota; biotic; cenobite; Cenozoic; convivial; couch-grass; epizoic; epizoon; epizootic; macrobiotic; Mesozoic; microbe; Protozoa; protozoic; quick; quicken; quicksand; quicksilver; quiver (v.) "to tremble;" revive; survive; symbiosis; viable; viand; viper; vita; vital; vitamin; victuals; viva; vivace; vivacious; vivarium; vivid; vivify; viviparous; vivisection; whiskey; wyvern; zodiac; Zoe; zoetrope; zoic; zoo-; zoolatry; zoology; zoon; zoophilia; zoophobia; zooplankton.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit jivah "alive, living;" Old Persian *jivaka- "alive," Middle Persian zhiwak "alive;" Greek bios "one's life, course or way of living, lifetime," zoe "animal life, organic life;" Old English cwic, cwicu "living, alive;" Latin vivus "living, alive," vita "life;" Old Church Slavonic zivo "to live;" Lithuanian gyvas "living, alive," gyvata "(eternal) life;" Old Irish bethu "life," bith "age;" Welsh byd "world."
Related entries & more