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

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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 Lee was elected in 2012 for his research contributions in the field of medical physiology and metabolism. Rick Green, courant.com, "Two UConn professors elected to National Academy of Sciences," 29 Apr. 2021 But in 2017, the Navy started issuing Garmin GPS smartwatches to help pilots better track their physiology while flying. Cory Graff, Popular Mechanics, "Everything an F/A-18 Fighter Pilot Wears in the Cockpit," 18 Apr. 2021 With their physiology on such a sliding scale, workers that lose the tournament can simply turn the dial backward, and resume business as usual. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "Want to Be Ant Royalty? Prepare to Lose Part of Your Brain.," 13 Apr. 2021 While serving as the 3M Bert Cross Chair and head of physiology at the University of Minnesota, Miller simultaneously ran a productive lab that helped launch the careers of many brilliant graduate students. Susan Du, Star Tribune, "Robert Miller, neuroscientist and microsurgeon, dies at 81," 5 Apr. 2021 House Bill 2513 would require police officers to be trained in airway, circulatory anatomy, and physiology. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Oregon Legislature considering 10 police reform bills," 9 Apr. 2021 More generally, the astonishment is that any physiology can contain a navigational system capable of such journeys. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, "Why Animals Don’t Get Lost," 29 Mar. 2021 For a variety of reasons, backpropagation isn’t compatible with the brain’s anatomy and physiology, particularly in the cortex. Quanta Magazine, "Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn," 18 Feb. 2021 But our new endurance habit couldn’t completely rewire muscle physiology to make fast-twitch fibers respond to jogging. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "Rethinking the Cross-Training Paradox," 19 Nov. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for physiology

Time Traveler

The first known use of physiology was in 1615

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Statistics for physiology

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Physiology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physiology. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on 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

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