etiology

noun eti·ol·o·gy \ ˌē-tē-ˈä-lə-jē \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of etiology

plural etiologies
1 : cause, origin; specifically : the cause of a disease or abnormal condition
2 : a branch of knowledge concerned with causes; specifically : a branch of medical science concerned with the causes and origins of diseases

Examples of etiology in a Sentence

  1. The scarf had been purchased in one of those tiny, exquisitely organized stores that can seduce you into thinking it matters less what you wear than how you accessorize what you wear, and the scarf came in just the noncolor colors that I like: mustard and khaki and taupe, shades of dun, nothing too vivid, yet subtly enlivening. I have traced the etiology of this object the better to convey the irrational significance of its loss. —Daphne MerkinNew York Times Magazine5 May 1991
  2. In social terms, regardless of its etiology, memory loss may be a way of coping with harsh reality. —Elizabeth W. MarksonGrowing Old in America(1985) 1987
  3. I have Freud in my novel as a doctor someone has heard about somewhere, perhaps in Vindobo-na in Pannonia (Vienna in Austria to you), who thinks, though not in so many words, that neuroses have no somatic etiology. I call him Sameach, which is Hebrew for Freud. I also call him Efcharistimenos, which is Greek for Freud. Damn it, I couldn't spell it out more if I tried. —Anthony BurgessTimes Literary Supplement2 Aug. 1985

Recent Examples of etiology from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'etiology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of etiology

Medieval Latin aetiologia statement of causes, from Greek aitiologia, from aitia cause


Medical Dictionary

etiology

noun eti·ol·o·gy
variants: or chiefly British aetiology play \ˌēt-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē\

medical Definition of etiology

plural etiologies
1 : the cause or causes of a disease or abnormal condition
  • some types of cancer have a viral etiology
  • a multiple etiology in which biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors all play a role
  • —M. E. Jackson et al
2 : a branch of medical science dealing with the causes and origin of diseases


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