lim·​nol·​o·​gy lim-ˈnä-lə-jē How to pronounce limnology (audio)
: the scientific study of bodies of fresh water (such as lakes)
limnological adjective
or less commonly limnologic
limnologist noun

Examples of limnology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Winter Grab effort came about after a 2019 summit on winter limnology — the study of lakes — that sharpened the focus on winter water science. Morgan Greene,, 4 Feb. 2022 But the study of these critical near- and offshore zones isn’t traditionally recognized as a single discipline in the way of oceanography or limnology, the study of bodies of freshwater, such as rivers and lakes. Special To The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 9 July 2020 To buoy their project, the team is taking a uniquely collaborative approach that includes U.S. and Canadian researchers in geology, microbiology, limnology (the study of lakes) and oceanography. Laura Poppick, Smithsonian, 29 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'limnology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from French limnologie, from Greek límnē "standing water, pool, marshy lake" + French -o- -o- + -logie -logy — more at limnetic

Note: French limnologie was introduced by the Swiss scientist François-Alphonse Forel (1841-1912), probably first in Le Léman: monographie lymnologique, tome 1 (Lausanne, 1892), p. vi: "Je dois expliquer ce néologisme, et m'en excuser si cela est nécessaire …J'ai donc dû chercher un mot plus modeste [que océanographie], et ne pouvant appeler mon étude la limnographie, car le mot limnographe est déjà réservé à certains appareils marégraphiques des lacs, force a été de forger le mot limnologie. La limnologie est donc l'océanographie des lacs." ("I must explain this neologism, and excuse myself for it if this is necessary …I then had to seek out a word more modest [than oceanography], and, not being able to call my study limnography, because the word 'limnograph' is already reserved for certain devices measuring tides in lakes, I was compelled to coin the word limnology. Limnology is the oceanography of lakes.")

First Known Use

circa 1888, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of limnology was circa 1888

Dictionary Entries Near limnology

Cite this Entry

“Limnology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


lim·​nol·​o·​gy lim-ˈnäl-ə-jē How to pronounce limnology (audio)
: the scientific study of bodies of fresh water (as lakes)

from Greek limnē "pool, marshy lake" and English -logy "science"

More from Merriam-Webster on limnology

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