physiology

noun
phys·​i·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌfi-zē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce physiology (audio) \

Definition of physiology

1 : a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (such as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved — compare anatomy
2 : the organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process

Keep scrolling for more

Physiology Has Latin Roots

The Latin root physio- generally means "physical", so human physiology deals with just about everything that keeps us alive and working, and other physiology specialties do the same for other animals and for plants. To do anything serious in the field of health, you've obviously got to know how the body's organs and cells function normally. Physiology used to be considered separately from anatomy, which focuses on the body's structures; however, it's now known that structure and function can't easily be separated in a scientific way, so "anatomy and physiology" are often spoken of in the same breath.

Examples of physiology in a Sentence

She took a course in anatomy and physiology. the physiology of diseased plants
Recent Examples on the Web Southern State Community College hired Montoya in August 2018 to teach life sciences, anatomy and physiology, spokeswoman Markey-Grabill said. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Police: College instructor accused of exposing himself to child was investigated in 2016," 27 Feb. 2020 The prize for medicine and physiology was awarded to William G. Kaelin Jr., Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza for their work in discovering how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. Alex Marshall, New York Times, "Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke Awarded Nobel Prizes in Literature," 10 Oct. 2019 Traveling to teach neurology was taking a toll on Krebs, who got his PhD in biology and physiology from Boston University. Nicole Defeudis, BostonGlobe.com, "Uplift app says it can deliver a natural remedy to jet lag," 11 Apr. 2018 Beyond the physiology of pregnancy, expectant women also have to navigate a healthcare and hospital system that wasn’t designed specifically for them. Fortune, "The coronavirus problem could be solved by design thinking," 28 Jan. 2020 The physiology of weight regain still baffles scientists, but surprising insights have emerged. Daniel Engber, Scientific American, "Unexpected Clues Emerge About Why Diets Fail," 13 Jan. 2020 Until now, little was known about the impact of tourism on the physiology of these charismatic cats. Neha Jain, Quartz India, "What’s stressing out tigers in India’s central reserves? Tourists," 30 Oct. 2019 MacInnis’s medical specialty is the physiology and psychology of extreme diving, how the human body copes (or not) with exposure to depth. Susan Casey, Outside Online, "One Man's Wild Quest to Reach the Bottom of Every Ocean," 22 Oct. 2019 Although the association between excess weight and disease is very real, individual experience can vary greatly and hinges on personal physiology and behavior. The Editors, Scientific American, "Doctors Need to Focus Less on a Patient’s Weight," 30 Jan. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of physiology

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for physiology

Latin physiologia natural science, from Greek, from physi- + -logia -logy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about physiology

Time Traveler for physiology

Time Traveler

The first known use of physiology was in 1615

See more words from the same year

Statistics for physiology

Last Updated

21 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Physiology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physiology. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for physiology

physiology

noun
How to pronounce physiology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of physiology

: a science that deals with the ways that living things function
: the ways that living things or any of their parts function

physiology

noun
phys·​i·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌfi-zē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce physiology (audio) \

Kids Definition of physiology

1 : a branch of biology that deals with the processes and activities that keep living things alive
2 : the processes and activities by which a living thing or any part of it functions

physiology

noun
phys·​i·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌfiz-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce physiology (audio) \
plural physiologies

Medical Definition of physiology

1 : a branch of biology that deals with the functions and activities of life or of living matter (as organs, tissues, or cells) and of the physical and chemical phenomena involved — compare anatomy sense 1, morphology sense 1
2 : the organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process the physiology of the thyroid gland
3 : a treatise on physiology

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on physiology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with physiology

Spanish Central: Translation of physiology

Nglish: Translation of physiology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of physiology for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about physiology

Comments on physiology

What made you want to look up physiology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!