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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 ecology
  • It's easy to see how that little wood sprite went on to study ecology and fashioned himself into an environmental shock trooper.
  • We pay lip service to ecology and nature, yet are uncomfortable sharing our space with all the other life forms.
  • Many of us equate ecology with environmental issues, .
  • Paine is considered by many to be the founder of experimental ecology.
  • Since moving to California, ecology has become top of mind for me.
  • While he had grown up in the jungle, he had never studied ecology.
  • The ecology of most of these creatures just doesn't make sense to me and they're hard to fit into the landscape.
  • He is fervent in his respect for the complexities of its ecology.
  • At the same time, I was becoming very active in the undergraduate research program at the ecology laboratory.
  • Given the sensitivity of biological systems even small increases in a city can have major effects on marine ecology.
British Dictionary definitions for ecology


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 ecology

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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ecology 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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ecology 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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ecology 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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