Definition of biology in English:

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Pronunciation: /bʌɪˈɒlədʒi/


[mass noun]
1The study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution.
Example sentences
  • An A level student at Sheldon School, Edward is studying biology, physics, chemistry and maths.
  • He managed to walk away with seven O-levels and started studying A-level biology, physics and chemistry.
  • Another, newer field, called systems biology or systems biomedicine, is emerging.
1.1The plants and animals of a particular area: the biology of the Chesapeake Bay
More example sentences
  • We are out for pleasure, to check the biology of the area, and perhaps to get some pictures of marine species we have not seen before.
  • This data is not sufficient to properly assess impacts to the local biology given the probable long-term use of the shoal as a sand resource area.
  • Each of the presenters at the ICPRB conference, “Human Influences on the Biology of the Potomac River,” gave the basin a letter grade for different aspects of the river, based on their expertise.
1.2The physiology, behaviour, and other qualities of a particular organism or class of organisms: human biology
More example sentences
  • Although I aced the exam and the class, the only biology I learnt that semester was animal behaviour.
  • What if the government charged him to set up a world class institute of marine biology?
  • In space it is possible to identify and isolate some unique characteristics of human physiology and biology.


Early 19th century: coined in German, via French from Greek bios 'life' + -logy.

  • amphibian from mid 17th century:

    Amphibians live both in water and on land, and it is the idea of ‘living in both’ that gives us the word, which comes from Greek amphi ‘both’ (also found in amphitheatre (Late Middle English) from amphi ‘on both sides’ and theatron ‘place for beholding’) and bios ‘life’, source of words such as biology (early 19th century) and antibiotic (mid 19th century). Before it was applied specifically to frogs, toads, and newts, amphibian simply meant ‘having two modes of existence, of doubtful nature’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: biol|ogy

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