-ology, -logy, -ologist, -logist

(Greek: a suffix meaning: to talk, to speak; a branch of knowledge; any science or academic field that ends in -ology which is a variant of -logy; a person who speaks in a certain manner; someone who deals with certain topics or subjects)

The word -ology is a back-formation from the names of certain disciplines. The -logy element basically means "the study of ____". Such words are formed from Greek or Latin roots with the terminal -logy derived from the Greek suffix -λογια (-logia), speaking, from λεγειν (legein), "to speak".

The suffix -ology is considered to be misleading sometimes as when the "o" is actually part of the word stem that receives the -logy ending; such as, bio + logy.

Through the years -ology and -logy have come to mean, "study of" or "science of" and either of these suffixes often utilize the form of -ologist, "one who (whatever the preceding element refers to)".

The examples shown in this unit represent just a small fraction of the many words that exist in various dictionaries.

1. Someone who is concerned with the study and treatment of venereal disease.
2. A person who studies diseases or who is a specialist the diagnosis and treatment of such illnesses that are communicated by sexual intercourse.
The study of, medical science of, and treatment of venereal diseases.
vexillologist (vek" suh LAHL luh jist) (s) (noun), vexillologists (pl)
A person or those who study and research information about colors: The vexillologists met to share their knowledge about the many ancient and other historical bannerets that have existed throughout the centuries.
vexillology (vek suh LAHL luh jee) (s) (noun), vexillologies (pl)
1. The scientific study of the history, symbolism, and usage of flags or; by extension, any general listing of flags: Jacob's history professor and mentor, Mr. Dean, was intrigued by his proposal to do more extensive research in the field of vexillology.
2. The scholarly study of the history, symbolism, etiquette, design, manufacture, and other aspects of standards: Vexillology can include a wide variety of fields that apply to flags and their uses.
3. Etymology: from Latin vexillum, a term used by the Romans to refer to a kind of standard with a fabric hung from a horizontal crossbar on a pole. It is the closest equivalent in the classical languages to what we call a flag today.

In his book, Dr. Smith says, "While the use of flags goes back to the earliest days of human civilization, the study of that usage in a serious fashion is so recent that the term for it (vexillology, coined by the author of this book) did not appear in print until 1959. This has resulted in a lack of uniformity in flag terms and, worse still, a lack of source material concerning actual usage on which standardization might be based."

—Dr. Whitney Smith, compiler of the book,
Flags through the Ages and Across the World, McGraw-Hill Book Company;
New York, 1975, page 12.

A Few Examples of the Flag Terms Used in Vexillology

Flag terms.
victimology (s) (noun), victimologies (pl)
The study of people who experience criminal acts and who feel helpless to improve their situations: "Several victimologies are investigating the reasons why some people are more prone to be victims of criminal acts than others."
vinology (s) (noun), vinologies (pl)
The scientific study of wines and winemaking.
1. The scientific study of vitamins.
2. A branch of knowledge dealing with vitamins, their natures, actions, and uses.
volcanologist, volcanist
Someone who is a specialist in the study of volcanic phenomena.
volcanology, vulcanology
1. The study of the causes and phenomena associated with volcanism.
2. That branch of science that deals with the eruption of magma (molten material plus its gaseous content) upon the surface of the earth or its rise into levels near the surface.

Closely related to geology, seismology, geophysics, and geochemistry.

Volcanology has a background of superstition and mythology

In Roman mythology, Vulcan was the god of fire, the blacksmith of the gods.

  • Poets identified Vulcan's workshop with various active volcanoes in the belief that the "smoking" mountain was the chimney of Vulcan's forge.
  • In ancient mythology, Vulcan's forge was located on the island of Vulcano, one of the Lipari islands off the coast of Sicily.
  • Based on this relationship, the name "volcano" was applied to all mountains which give off "smoke and fire".
—Excerpts from "Volcanology" by Fred M. Bukllard,
Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology,
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers; New York; 1992; page 2342.
xenoarchaeology, xenoarcheology (s) (noun) (no pl)
A proto-science that exists so far mainly in science fiction works, especially those that have to do with space exploration, such as Star Trek: Xenoarchaeology is primarily concerned with the physical remains of alien cultures which might be found on planets which have been inhabited or visited by extraterrestrials.

A scientist who speculates on the biology of alien life forms.

A xenobiologist is usually a human doctor, or biologist, who is an expert regarding the physiology of alien organisms and life forms.

Cross references of word families related directly, or indirectly, to: "talk, speak, speech; words, language; tongue, etc.": cit-; clam-; dic-; fa-; -farious; glosso-; glotto-; lalo-; linguo-; locu-; logo-; loqu-; mythico-; ora-; -phasia; -phemia; phon-; phras-; Quotes: Language,Part 1; Quotes: Language, Part 2; Quotes: Language, Part 3; serm-; tongue; voc-.