Improve Your Vocabulary: Fields of Study

If there's one thing we humans love to do, it's jumping. No, wait ... we love to study things! That's it. In this article, I've put together a bunch of the more — and less — common "ologies".

Tip: If you are serious about improving your vocabulary, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular vocabulary program, Ultimate Vocabulary. Click Ultimate Vocabulary for further information.*

The suffix -ology means "a subject of study; a branch of knowledge". Now, the following list misses a lot of fields of study, like most of the ones in physics, mathematics, and engineering (which don't tend to have discipline names that end with -ology); all I've focussed on here are fields of study that end in -ology

Some of these ologies are very academic fields of study (such as graminology, the study of grasses), while others are medical fields which, while they may include research, are generally more concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the body's system or organ mentioned (eg, cardiology is the branch of medicine that deals with diseases and abnormalities of the heart). And some of the ologies are rather obscure (who knew that vexillology was the scholarly study of flags? I sure didn't!).

Name Study of ...
aetiology causes of disease
agrology soil science in relation to crops
algology algae
anaesthesiology anaesthetics
andrology male reproductive function, disease and conditions specific to men
anthropology humankind
archaeology human remains and antiquities, especially from excavations
astronomy celestial objects
bacteriology bacteria
biology life
bromatology food
brontology thunder
cardiology heart
cetology dolphins and whales
chirology hands
climatology climate
conchology mollusc shells
cosmology evolution and structure of the universe
cryptology codes, secret languages
cynology dogs
cytology cells of organisms
dendrochronology growth rings in ancient trees
dendrology trees
dermatology skin
dialectology language dialects
ecclesiology Christian church or churches, esp architecture
ecology organisms' relationships to one another and the environment
Egyptology Ancient Egypt
embryology development of an organism to time of birth
endocrinology endocrine glands and hormones
entomology insects
enzymology enzymes
epidemiology incidence and transmission of diseases in populations
ethnography race and peoples (customs, habits, etc)
ethnology characteristics of different peoples
ethnomusicology music of different cultures
ethology animal behaviour
exobiology possible extraterrestrial life
felinology cats
fluviology rivers
gastroenterology stomach and intestines
gemmology gem stones
genealogy descent of families, ancestors
geology physical structure of the earth
geomorphology physical features of earth's surface
gerontology old age, ageing process
glaciology geological action of ice
glossology languages
graminology grasses
gynaecology physiology and diseases of women and girls
heliology the sun
haematology blood
hepatology liver, pancreas, gallbladder
herpetology reptiles and amphibians
histology organic tissue, esp on microscopic scale
hydrogeology underground and surface water of the earth
hydrology water on and under earth's surface, and in the air
hygrology humidity and evaporation
hypnology sleep and hypnosis
ichnology fossilised footprints
ichthyology fish
iconology icons, symbols
ideology origin and nature of ideas
immunology immune system, resistance to infection
implantology surgical implants
karyology cell nuclei, chromosomes
kinesiology mechanics of human movement
lepidopterology butterflies and moths
lexicology words
lichenology lichens
limnology lakes, inland water
lithology characteristics of rocks
malacology molluscs
meteorology atmospheric processes, weather
metrology measurement
microbiology micro-organisms
mineralogy minerals
morphology forms of living organisms
muscology mosses
museology organising and managing museums
musicology music (as a subject of study rather than a performing art)
mycology fungi
mythology myths
nephrology kidneys
neurology nervous system
oceanology human use of the oceans
oenology wine
oncology tumours, cancer
ontology essence of being or existence
oology birds' eggs
ophiology snakes
ophthalmology eyes
orchidology orchids
ornithology birds
osteology bones
otolaryngology ear, nose and throat
otology ear
palaeobiology extinct plants and animals
palaeontology fossils
parasitology parasites
pathology causes and effects of diseases, esp examination of tissues
pedology soils
philology literature, language
phonology speech sounds, pronunciation
phycology seaweeds
physiology natural science, normal functioning of living organisms
pomology growing fruit
primatology primates (monkeys, apes etc)
psychology human mind
pteridology ferns
pyretology fevers
pulmonology lungs, respiratory tract
radiology use of x-rays and other radiation in diagnosis
rheumatology disorders of joints, muscles (arthritis etc)
sarcology soft tissues of the body
scatology fossilised poo
sedimentology sediments and sedimentary rocks
seismology earthquakes
selenology the moon
sexology sexual behaviour
Sinology China
sociobiology biological aspects of social behaviour
sociology human society
speleology caves
splanchnology viscera, entrails
stasiology political parties
stomatology mouth
telmatology peatbogs
teratology congenital malformations
teuthology cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish etc)
theology religions
thermology physics of heat
toxicology poisons
traumatology wounds and serious injuries
trichology hair
urology kidneys, urinary tract
vexillology flags
virology viruses
volcanology volcanoes
zoology animals
zymology biochemistry of fermentation

Keep in mind that if you can remember these words, you will also gain the upperhand when someone reveals their obscure profession to you (simply swap the -ology suffix for -ologist).

"Oh yes, I'm a teuthologist", she reveals superciliously while sipping your expensive wine.

"Oh really?", you sauvely reply. "So, tell me, which plural do you prefer, octopuses or octopodes?" (keeping firmly in mind that octopi is incorrect!)

*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Vocabulary. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Vocabulary software because we are happy to endorse that software.



Last modified on Wednesday, 18 November 2015 01:03
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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