1795 as "science of the past and present condition of the Earth's crust," from Modern Latin geologia "the study of the earth," from geo- "earth" + logia (see -logy). German Geologie is attested by 1785. In Medieval Latin, geologia (14c.) meant "study of earthly things," i.e. law, as distinguished from arts and sciences, which concern the works of God. Darwin used geologize as a verb.