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Physics is the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force, Yet a physic is a medicine that purges, a cathartic or laxative.

What is the sense in an -ology as opposed to an -ics as opposed to an -y or a -sophy? "None at all!"

"That's another fine mess you got me into" Oliver Hardy.

Below, left, I look at some words;
  • Biology, Epistemology, Etymology, Technology, Vexillology, Zoology.
  • Cosmetics, Cybernetics, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Robotics, Semantics, Systematics.
  • Astronomy, Carpentry, Chemistry.
  • Philosophy, Theosophy, Anthroposophy.
Below, right, I look at the suffixes; -ology, -ics, -y and -sophy?

The Words


Biology - the science of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena, especially with reference to origin, growth, reproduction, structure, and behavior.

Zoology - Biology of Animals

Entomology - Zoology of Insects

Epistemology -Philosophy of knowledge.

Etymology -  the derivation of a words, word origin, word source, derivation, origin. 1350–1400; Middle English  < Latin etymologia  < Greek etymología,  equivalent to etymológ ( os ) studying the true meanings and values of words ( étymo ( s ) true ( see etymon) + lógos  word, reason) + -ia -y

Technology - The branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

Vexillology - the study of flags. Origin: 1955–60;  < Latin vexill ( um ) flag, vexillum  + -o-  + -logy


Cosmetics - Origin: 1595–1605;  < Greek kosmētikós  relating to adornment, equivalent to kosmēt ( ós ) adorned, arranged (verbid of kosmeîn,  derivative of kósmos  order, arrangement) + -ikos -ic

Cybernetics - ( functioning as singular ) See also feedback the branch of science concerned with control systems in electronic and mechanical devices and the extent to which useful comparisons can be made between man-made and biological systems.

Economics - 1. ( used with a singular verb ) the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind. 2. ( used with a plural verb ) financial considerations; economically  significant aspects: What are the economics of such a project? Origin: economic - 1590s, "pertaining to management of a household," from L. oeconomicus, from Gk. oikonomikos (see economy). Meaning "relating to the science of economics" is from 1835 and now is the main sense, economical retaining the older one of "characterized by thrift." econom + -ikē,  feminine of -ikos -ic; see -ics

Mathematics - 1. ( used with a singular verb ) the systematic treatment of magnitude, relationships between figures and forms, and relations between quantities expressed symbolically. 2. ( used with a singular or plural verb ) mathematical  procedures, operations, or properties. Origin: 1350–1400; Middle English mathematic  < Latin mathēmatica  ( ars ) < Greek mathēmatikḕ  ( téchnē ) scientific (craft), equivalent to mathēmat-  (stem of máthēma ) science, knowledge + -ikē,  feminine of -ikos -ic; see -ics

Physics - the science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force. Origin: 1250–1300;  (noun) Middle English fisyk ( e ), phisik ( e ) (< Old French fisique ) < Latin physica  natural science ( Medieval Latin:  medical science) < Greek physikḗ  science of nature, noun use of feminine adj.: pertaining to nature (akin to phŷlon  tribe, phylon); (v.) Middle English,  derivative of the noun

Robotics - 1941; robot  + -ics;  coined by Isaac Asimov.

Semantics - "science of meaning in language," 1893, from Fr. sémantique (1883); see semantic (also see -ics). Replaced semasiology (1847), from Ger. Semasiologie (1829), from Gk. semasia "signification, meaning."  

Systematics - 1. the study of systems or of classification. 2. Biology. a.
the study and classification of organisms with the goal of reconstructing their evolutionary histories and relationships. b. phylogenetic classification.

Chemistry - 1605 (see chemical), originally "alchemy;" the meaning "natural physical process" is 1646, and the scientific study not so called until 1788. The figurative sense of "instinctual attraction or affinity" is older, c.1600, from the alchemical sense. chemical - 1576, from chemic "of alchemy" (a worn-down derivative of M.L. alchimicus; see alchemy) + -al (1).


Astronomy - Origin: c.1200, from O.Fr. astronomie, from L. astronomia, from Gk. astronomia, lit. "star arrangement," from astron "star" (see astro-) + nomos "arranging, regulating," related to nemein "to deal out" (see numismatics). Used earlier than astrology and originally including it.

Carpentry - Origin: 1350–1400; Middle English carpentrie  < Old North French  < Latin carpentāria  ( fabrica ) carriage-maker's (workshop). See carpenter, -y3

Chemistry - the science that deals with the composition and properties of substances and various elementary forms of matter. Compare element.


Anthroposophy - a philosophy based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925) which maintains that, by virtue of a prescribed method of self-discipline, cognitional experience of the spiritual world can be achieved.

Thosophy - 1. any of various religious or philosophical systems claiming to be based on or to express an intuitive insight into the divine nature. 2. the system of beliefs of the Theosophical Society founded in 1875, claiming to be derived from the sacred writings of Brahmanism and Buddhism, but denying the existence of any personal God.

Philosophy - the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct. Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English philosophie  < Latin philosophia  < Greek philosophía. See philo-, -sophy

The Suffixes


— n combining form

  1. indicating the science or study of: musicology
  2. indicating writing, discourse, or body of writings: trilogy ; phraseology ; martyrology

[from Latin -logia,  from Greek, from logos  word; see logos ]

  • logical  — adj combining form
  • logic  — adj combining form
  • logist  — n combining form

-ology "a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science," from Gk. -logia (often via Fr. -logie or M.L. -logia), from root of legein "to speak;" thus, "the character or department of one who speaks or treats of (a certain subject);" see lecture.



— suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating a science, art, or matters relating to a particular subject: aeronautics ; politics
  2. indicating certain activities or practices: acrobatics
[plural of -ic,  representing Latin -ica,  from Greek -ika,  as in mathēmatika  mathematics]

-ics in the names of sciences or disciplines (acoustics, aerobics, economics, etc.) it represents a 16c. revival of the classical custom of using the neuter plural of adjectives with -ikos (see -ic) to mean "matters relevant to" and also as the titles of treatises about them. Subject matters that acquired their names in English before c.1500, however, tend to remain in singular (e.g. arithmetic, logic).



— n combining form    
  1. indicating knowledge or an intellectual system: philosophy ; theosophy
[from Greek -sophia,  from sophia  wisdom, from sophos  wise]
  • sophic  — adj combining form
  • sophical  — adj combining form
-sophy suffix meaning "knowledge," from O.Fr. -sophie, from L. -sophia, from Gk. -sophia, from sophia "skill, wisdom, knowledge," of unknown origin.



a suffix of various origins used in the formation of action nouns from verbs ( inquiry ),  also found in other abstract nouns: carpentry; infamy.


What to do?

OK I am not to serious here but we have some nice suffixes;

-ology, -ics, -y and -sophy

How about we preserve technology, physics, mathematics and philosophy so that;
  • -ology is reserved for stuff you make i.e. synthesis.
  • -sophy is reserved for thinking about stuff
  • -ics could be the scientific analysis of something
  • -y could be  

So here are the proposed name changes.

Biology - Bics
Epistemology - Epistemosophy
Etymology - Etymics
Technology -
Vexillology -
Zoology - Zooics

Cosmetics - Cosmeticology
Cybernetics - Cybertology
Economics -
Mathematics -
Physics -
Robotics - Robotology
Semantics -
Systematics -

Astronomy - Astromics
Carpentry - Carpentology
Chemistry - Chemisics

Philosophy -
Theosophy -
Anthroposophy - 

Other proposals welcome.

To find words with particular endings;
-ics -istry -matics -metics -natics -netics -nomy -ography -ology -sophy

or use http://itools.subhashbose.com/wordfind/ending-with/


Some great tools are;

The Free Dictonary - because you can put in parts of words like "-matic" and it tells you the meaning as best it can.

Word Find - because you can put in parts of words like "matic" and it tells you all the words that start, contain or end with it.