ax·​i·​ol·​o·​gy ˌak-sē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce axiology (audio)
: the study of the nature, types, and criteria of values and of value judgments especially in ethics
axiological adjective
axiologically adverb

Word History


borrowed from French axiologie, from Greek axía "worth, value" (noun derivative from feminine of áxios "worth, equal, of an equal status") + French -o- -o- + -logie -logy — more at axiom

Note: The term was apparently introduced by the German philosopher Eduard von Hartmann (1842-1906) in "L'axiologie et ses divisions," Revue philosophique de la France et de l'étranger, quinzième année, No 11, novembre 1890, pp. 466-79. (A note at the end of the article states that the translation, presumably from German to French, was by "M. Alexandre Keller.") In a footnote to the word in the title of the article, Hartmann states that "Le mot axiologie est tiré du grec ἀξία, évaluation, valeur, littéralement pesée, du grec ἄγα, conduire, guider, charrier …" ("The word axiology is taken from Greek axía, valuation, value, literally, weighing, from Greek ága, to lead, guide, carry …"). In fact, Greek axía does not mean "weighing"—this is an artificial sense imposed on the word based on its presumed etymology (see note at axiom). Additionally, the infinitive of the Greek verb is ágein and it is unclear what Hartmann had in mind by citing ága, which does not correspond to any form of the verb.

First Known Use

1891, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of axiology was in 1891

Dictionary Entries Near axiology

Cite this Entry

“Axiology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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