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 Every birth goes a little differently, depending on factors — including your personal physiology and the size and position of your baby — that are usually beyond your control. Patricia Waldron, New York Times, "What to Expect During the Three Stages of Labor," 18 Apr. 2020 In the nineteenth century, the medical profession seemed to stumble on a new disease every few years; doctors would set about describing its symptoms, detailing its physiology, and proposing possible remedies. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "“It’s Hard to Stay Afloat”: Hope and Exhaustion in the Coronavirus Fight," 15 Apr. 2020 In the future, microbiome characteristics may be used to indicate whether a subject might react positively to a medical or dietary intervention, or which treatment might be best adapted to a person's physiology. Enea Rezzonico, Scientific American, "Nestlé's research on nutrition and the human gut microbiome," 17 Feb. 2015 So Prasolova worked at a local clinic, digitizing medical files, and taught anatomy and physiology part time at a small private medical school. Camila Osorio, The New Yorker, "Immigrant Doctors Want to Help Fight COVID-19 but Are Stymied by State Licensing Laws," 23 Apr. 2020 Adam Jajtner, PhD, CSCS, assistant professor of exercise science and physiology at Kent State University, who has also studied exercise and the immune response, touts resistance training as a smart strategy for improving immunity. Mallory Creveling, Health.com, "Does Exercise Boost Immunity? What to Know About Working Out Right Now, According to Experts," 16 Apr. 2020 How cough and sneeze droplets travel A lot goes into how far the cloud and its droplets travel: a person's physiology, the environment, humidity and temperature. USA Today, "Coronavirus might spread much farther than 6 feet in the air. CDC says wear a mask in public.," 3 Apr. 2020 Branson said many of these hacks are impractical, dangerous, and unmoored from basic principles of physics and physiology. Lindsay Beyerstein, The New Republic, "The Staggeringly Complicated Ethics of Ventilating Coronavirus Patients," 10 Apr. 2020 Doctors are generally expected to consider physiology first: Does the patient have an underlying health condition that could compromise the outcome of ventilator use? Patti Greco, Health.com, "If Coronavirus Patients Outnumber Ventilators, Who Gets One? Here's How Doctors Decide," 10 Apr. 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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Learn More about physiology

Time Traveler for physiology

Time Traveler

The first known use of physiology was in 1615

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Statistics for physiology

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Physiology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/physiology. Accessed 6 Jun. 2020.

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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

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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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