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 just over two weeks, the crew performed a dizzying array of experiments in psychology, physiology, human factors (such as making sure human bodies work with the spacecraft and systems), medicine and much more. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "Touring Where the Mars-500 'Astronauts' Pretended to Take a Red Planet Journey," 11 July 2018 For example, reproductive physiology varies widely even among related animals. Deborah Netburn, latimes.com, "How IVF might save northern white rhinos, the world's most endangered species," 4 July 2018 Strauss did postdoctoral research in physiology at Washington from 1968-70, taught at Hawaii from 1972-74 and did one year of medical residency at Rutgers from 1974-75, according to those schools. Washington Post, "Sex abuse inquiry on Ohio State doc now includes high school," 30 June 2018 Their classes focus on basic science, the drug's physiology, molecular biology and chemistry. Jen Christensen, CNN, "Universities meet growing demand with Weed 101," 20 Apr. 2018 The two professors worked with a colleague who had expertise in psychology and physiology, Joseph Tecce, to create the hardware and software. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "James Gips Created Technology Allowing People to Use Their Eyes to Control Cursors," 29 June 2018 Over the past several decades, researchers from a mix of backgrounds—nutrition, psychology, physiology among them—have tested a variety of different diets in short- and long-term settings. Kevin Klatt, SELF, "Why Weight Loss Diets Fail," 26 June 2018 Now, one’s physiology is not a map for one’s psychology. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Physical tendencies reflect our mental states," 5 Apr. 2018 Nevertheless, the problem of mismatched physiologies remains, and many physicians are understandably nervous about calculating the right dosages. Charles Schmidt, Scientific American, "Many Pediatric Studies Are a Waste of Time," 1 Sep. 2017

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

15 Nov 2018

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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