Header image of wall of bricks Open menu Close menu


Life; living things.

Greek bios, (course of) human life.

Though the Greek precursor of this form referred only to human life, the sense has been extended to mean organic life in general, especially in the key term biology, the study of living organisms. The form is extremely active in the language, and only a few of the more common examples of compounds are given in the list below. The great importance and potential of biological topics has resulted in many terms for cross-disciplinary subjects of study—a few examples appear in the list.

Examples of words in bio‑
Terms mainly derive from English stems

General terms


the proportion of a drug or other substance which is able to have an active effect in the body


capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution


the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat


the use of electronic monitoring of a normally automatic bodily function in order to train someone to acquire voluntary control of that function


gaseous fuel, especially methane, produced by the fermentation of organic matter


a risk to human health or the environment arising from biological work


a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, such as forest or tundra


of or relating to both biology and medicine


the use of micro-organisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants


the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the earth or another planet occupied by living organisms

Subjects of study


of the chemical and physico-chemical processes which occur within living organisms


of the design and construction of computers using biochemical components


of the geographical distribution of plants and animals


of the application of mathematics to biology


of the mechanical laws relating to the movement or structure of living organisms


of the application of physics to biology


the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other purposes

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.