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[ee-tee-ol-uh-jee] /ˌi tiˈɒl ə dʒi/
noun, plural etiologies.
  1. the study of the causes of diseases.
  2. the cause or origin of a disease.
the study of causation.
any study of causes, causation, or causality, as in philosophy, biology, or physics.
Also, aetiology.
Origin of etiology
1545-55; < Latin aetiologia < Greek aitiología determining the cause of something, equivalent to aití(a) cause + -o- -o- + -logia -logy
Related forms
etiologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for etiology
  • The etiology for the deaths that were happening so rapidly was complete mystery to everyone.
  • This is a specific, proven etiology for the disease.
  • The etiology of the problem is intellectually interesting; but the immediate effect of this crisis is potentially devastating.
  • For one thing, it enables me to understand the clinical etiology of psychological problems, such as yours.
  • The etiology is variable and mysterious right now.
  • The etiology for bipolar disorder is unknown.
  • Perhaps someone more familiar with plague etiology can enlighten us on this point.
  • These days he is comfortable talking about how that period has a role in the etiology of his history with addiction.
  • The etiology of these hemorrhagic chickenpox syndromes is not known.
British Dictionary definitions for etiology


noun (pl) -gies
the philosophy or study of causation
the study of the causes of diseases
the cause of a disease
Derived Forms
aetiologist, etiologist, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin aetologia, from Greek aitiologia, from aitia cause


noun (pl) -gies
a variant spelling of aetiology
Derived Forms
etiological (ˌiːtɪəˈlɒdʒɪkəl) adjective
etiologically, adverb
etiologist, noun
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 etiology

"science of causes or causation," 1550s, from Late Latin aetiologia, from Greek aitiologia "statement of cause," from aitia "cause" + -logia "a speaking" (see -logy). Related: Etiologic; etiological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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etiology in Medicine

etiology e·ti·ol·o·gy or ae·ti·ol·o·gy (ē'tē-ŏl'ə-jē)

  1. The science and study of the causes or origins of disease.

  2. The cause or origin of a disease or disorder as determined by medical diagnosis.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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etiology in Science
The cause or origin of a disease, condition, or constellation of symptoms or signs, as determined by medical diagnosis or research.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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