physiology

noun
phys·​i·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌfi-zē-ˈä-lə-jē \

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

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Other Words from physiology

physiologist \ ˌfi-​zē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist \ noun

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

In her first few years at the University of New England, Carlson led an investigation into the physiology of stock car drivers. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 When Goldstein came back, Dr. Seldin helped woo Brown to join him as well — laying the groundwork for a research partnership that resulted in the school’s first Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Donald W. Seldin, who built UT Southwestern into a medical powerhouse, dies at 97," 6 May 2018 Graham started going on about the physiology of a hockey player. Greg Gilhooly, Good Housekeeping, "Men Are Sexually Abused in Sports, Too: I Was Molested by My Hockey Coach," 23 Feb. 2018 The professor, Anita Moss, is a senior lecturer specializing in human anatomy and human physiology in the UTSA biology department. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "University of Texas San Antonio Professor Allegedly Calls Police on Black Student for Putting Feet Up," 13 Nov. 2018 A decade ago, Carlson was a rising star in the field of exercise physiology. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 The study, which was published in August in the Journal of Applied Physiology, arose from serendipity, says Trevor Day, a professor of physiology at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada, who oversaw the research. Gretchen Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Vigorous exercise, even a trek up Everest, may be safe during pregnancy," 26 Oct. 2018 The rinse seems to counteract fatigue and enhances attention to a task, said David Ferguson, an assistant professor of exercise physiology at Michigan State. New York Times, "That Spitting Thing at the World Cup? It’s Probably ‘Carb Rinsing’," 11 July 2018 His contributions span so many different areas of mammalian reproductive physiology. Bryan Marquard, BostonGlobe.com, "John Biggers, 94, pioneer researcher for in vitro fertilization," 5 May 2018

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.

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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

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for physiology

The first known use of physiology was in 1615

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More Definitions for physiology

physiology

noun

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 \

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 \
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

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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

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