etiology

noun
eti·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌē-tē-ˈä-lə-jē \
plural etiologies

Definition of etiology 

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

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 Merkin, New York Times Magazine, 5 May 1991 In social terms, regardless of its etiology, memory loss may be a way of coping with harsh reality. — Elizabeth W. Markson, Growing Old in America, (1985) 1987 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 Burgess, Times Literary Supplement, 2 Aug. 1985
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Recent Examples on the Web

The goal of One Health is to develop policies and interventions that account for social, political and economic realities, not just disease etiology. Daniel Fernandez, Smithsonian, "How Globalization Changed the Way We Fight Disease," 4 June 2018 Although no clear etiologies for this cluster exist, occupational exposures possibly contributed. Elana Glowatz, Newsweek, "Dentists Mysteriously Dying of Lung Disease: CDC Report," 9 Mar. 2018 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017 Most repetitive behaviors, regardless of etiology, begin in childhood. Kate Murphy, ajc, "Are you a hair-twirler or a nail-biter?," 27 Sep. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of etiology

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for etiology

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

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Dictionary Entries near etiology

etio-

etiolate

etiologic

etiology

etiquette

etna

Etna, Mount

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Time Traveler for etiology

The first known use of etiology was circa 1555

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More Definitions for etiology

etiology

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

Medical Definition of etiology 

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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