1560s, "study and description of natural objects, natural philosophy" (a sense now obsolete), from French physiologie (16c.) or directly from Latin physiologia "natural science, study of nature," from Greek physiologia "natural science, inquiry into nature," from physios "nature" (see physio-) + logia "study" (see -logy). Meaning "science of the normal function of living things" is attested from 1610s. Related: Physiologic; physiologist.
The two words [physics/physiology] had once the same wide meaning of natural science or natural philosophy. They have now been narrowed & differentiated, physics retaining only the properties of matter & energy in inorganic nature, & physiology only the normal functions & phenomena of living beings. [Fowler, 1926]
early 15c., irritacioun, in physiology, in reference to sores and morbid swelling, from Old French irritacion or directly from Latin irritationem (nominative irritatio) "incitement, stimulus; irritation, wrath, anger," noun of action from past-participle stem of irritare "to excite, provoke" (see irritate). Meaning "impatient or angry excitement" is from 1703.
"science of the natural history of man," 1590s, originally especially of the relation between physiology and psychology, from Modern Latin anthropologia or coined independently in English from anthropo- + -logy. In Aristotle, anthrōpologos is used literally, as "speaking of man." Related: Anthropologic; anthropological.
1878 in the physiology sense of "the sum of the chemical changes within the body by which the protoplasm is renewed, changed, or prepared for excretion," from French métabolisme, from Greek metabole "a change," from metaballein "to change," from meta "change" (see meta-) + ballein "to throw" (from PIE root *gwele- "to throw, reach"). The word also has been used in theology, poetics, and entomology.