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[ih-kol-uh-jee] /ɪˈkɒl ə dʒi/
the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment, including other organisms.
Also called human ecology. the branch of sociology concerned with the spacing and interdependence of people and institutions.
Also, oecology.
Origin of ecology
1870-75; earlier oecology < German Ökologie < Greek oîk(os) + -o- -o- + German -logie -logy; term introduced by E. H. Haeckel
Related forms
[ek-uh-loj-i-kuh l, ee-kuh-] /ˌɛk əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl, ˌi kə-/ (Show IPA),
ecologic, adjective
ecologically, adverb
ecologist, noun
unecological, adjective
unecologically, adverb
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ecological
  • It saved us from an ecological and economic disaster.
  • Argues that sustainability is ultimately impossible and describes a new natural-law politics for our ecological future.
  • Such effects could spread the ecological damage beyond the original prey at the same time as drawing out the actual extinction.
  • The common thread among these methods is an embrace of farming practices that mimic natural ecological processes.
  • Perhaps it will eventually explode into a devastating trophic cascade and ecological disaster.
  • It wreaks a subtle, long-term havoc, as toxic chemicals enter ecological cycles and take decades to break down.
  • Climate change and other ecological factors are part of the reason.
  • He'll share highlights of the expedition and its ecological relevance.
  • The ecological benefits of gardening on your roof.
  • Coyotes became top dog, filling the wolf's ecological niche.
British Dictionary definitions for ecological


of or relating to ecology
(of a practice, policy, product, etc) tending to benefit or cause minimal damage to the environment
Derived Forms
ecologically, adverb


the study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment
the set of relationships of a particular organism with its environment
the study of the relationships between human groups and their physical environment
Also called (for senses 1, 2) bionomics
Derived Forms
ecologist, noun
Word Origin
C19: from German Ökologie, from Greek oikos house (hence, environment)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ecological

1899, see ecology + -ical. Related: Ecologically.



1873, "branch of science dealing with the relationship of living things to their environments, coined by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) as Okologie, from Greek oikos "house, dwelling place, habitation" (see villa) + -logia "study of" (see -logy). In use with reference to anti-pollution activities from 1960s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ecological in Medicine

ecology e·col·o·gy (ĭ-kŏl'ə-jē)

  1. The branch of science that is concerned with the relationships between organisms and their environments.

  2. The relationship between organisms and their environments.

  3. The study of the detrimental effects of modern civilization on the environment, with a view toward their prevention or reversal through conservation.

ec'o·log'i·cal (ěk'ə-lŏj'ĭ-kəl, ē'kə-) or ec'o·log'ic (-ĭk) adj.
e·col'o·gist n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ecological in Science
  1. The scientific study of the relationships between living things and their environments. Also called bionomics.

  2. A system of such relationships within a particular environment.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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ecological in Culture

ecology definition

The study of living things, their environment, and the relation between the two.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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