"history of the lives, sufferings, and deaths of Christian martyrs," 1590s, a native formation from martyr (n.) + -ology, or else from Church Latin martyrologium, from Ecclesiastical Greek martyrologicon. Especially, in the Catholic Church, "a list or calendar of martyrs, arranged according to their anniversaries." Middle English had martiloge "the register of martyred saints" (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin martilogium. Related: Martyrological.