biology

\ \ [19] The modern European languages have made prolific use of Greek bíoslife’ as a prefix, particularly in the 20th century. The first compound into which it entered in English seems to have been biotic, in the now obsolete sense ‘of secular life’ (around 1600), but the trend was really set by biography, first recorded as being used by John Dryden in his Life of Plutarch 1683. Biology itself came along at the beginning of the 19th century, via French, having been coined in German by Gottfried Reinhold in 1802. Twentieth-century contributions have included bioengineering, biometric, bionic, biorhythm, and biotechnology.
\ \ Greek bíos itself goes back to an Indo-European base *gwej-, from which English also ultimately gets quick, vital, vivid, and zoo.
\ \ Cf.QUICK, VITAL, VIVID, ZOO

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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