Words related to biogenic


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.


word-forming element meaning "producing, pertaining to generation;" see -gen + -ic.

biogeny (n.)

1870, "science or doctrine of biogenesis; history of organic evolution;" see bio- + -geny. As "history of the evolution of organisms, genesis or evolution of matter manifesting life (including ontogeny and phylogeny)," 1879.


Middle English -ik, -ick, word-forming element making adjectives, "having to do with, having the nature of, being, made of, caused by, similar to," from French -ique and directly from Latin -icus or from cognate Greek -ikos "in the manner of; pertaining to." From PIE adjective suffix *-(i)ko, which also yielded Slavic -isku, adjectival suffix indicating origin, the source of the -sky (Russian -skii) in many surnames. In chemistry, indicating a higher valence than names in -ous (first in benzoic, 1791).

In Middle English and after often spelled -ick, -ike, -ique. Variant forms in -ick (critick, ethick) were common in early Modern English and survived in English dictionaries into early 19c. This spelling was supported by Johnson but opposed by Webster, who prevailed.

biogenesis (n.)

also bio-genesis, 1870, "theory that living organisms arise only from the agency of pre-existing living organisms" (as opposed to spontaneous generation), coined by English biologist T.H. Huxley from Greek bios "life" (from PIE root *gwei- "to live") + -genesis "birth, origin, creation." A word from the Darwin debates. The meaning "the theoretical evolution of living matter from complex inanimate chemicals" is from 1960. Compare also biogeny. Related: Biogenic; biogenetic; biogenetical.