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I've asked this specific question as a means to learning about the rules that determine, or patterns that describe, the spellings of derived words.

Suppose that someone were to concatenate -ology and science in order to derive a word that denoted [[the study of science]], and that she wanted to spell it as an authority would probably spell it had he derived the word; how should she spell the word?

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I don't like to be suspicious, but can you give any more reassurance that this question is being asked in good faith? The obvious candidate must surely be sciencology. But as expected, if you search for that without quote marks, Google just assumes you must be looking for Scientology (the complete opposite to "science", imho). – FumbleFingers Jun 16 '14 at 15:14
That depends on what it is about science that you are studying. Perhaps you are thinking of "philosophy of science"? – Matt Gutting Jun 16 '14 at 16:25
@FumbleFingers No worries, I didn't post this to allude to Scientology. I thought about sciencology, but it just doesn't look right; something seems wrong about it. – Hal Jun 16 '14 at 17:00
@Hal: There is also scientism, but in my opinion that's normally a derogatory term used by "anti-scientists" who see the scientific method as incompatible with their religious faith. – FumbleFingers Jun 16 '14 at 18:11
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The -ology part is Greek (linking vowel -ο- plus the stem of λόγος [discourse, reason] plus abstract-noun suffix -ία anglicized to -y); so one approach is to draw upon the Greek word epistēmē (ἐπιστήμη, knowledge, from ἐπίσταμαι, I know) rather than the Latin scientia (knowledge, from sciō, I know), and thus to come up with the word epistemology. Using the Latin abstract noun as given here, what results is scientology. Perhaps unfortunately for your purpose, both forms have come into established usage with specific meanings: epistemology is that branch of philosophy which inquires just what it means to say we know, while Scientology is, ahem, a controversial minority belief system and community founded by L. Ron Hubbard.

The general rule for forming such compounds from classical roots is just to know what the classical roots are, and the specific consonants and vowels that were characteristically used in the classical languages to mediate between these roots and any affixes. This may involve going beyond the mere dictionary form of a classical word. For instance, lyō/λύω is the dictionary form or lemma of a verb meaning either “I set free” or “I destroy” (in Greek and Latin dictionaries, verbs are entered under their first-person singular present indicative active forms); but the many English words derived from it pretty much all use the stem -lys-/-λυσ- from the past or aorist tense elysa/ἔλυσα: paralysis, electrolysis, catalyst, even Lysol. (But then, the s becomes t when the adjectival suffix -ic enters the picture: catalytic, paralytic, etc.)

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C.P.Scott had something to say about mixing Greek and Latin etymologies. – Andrew Leach Jun 16 '14 at 15:31
@AndrewLeach: What did he say? I know some frown on the mixing, but I am pretty sure there are many established words that do mix, like serology. Anyone care to oblige me with some other good examples here? – Brian Donovan Jun 16 '14 at 15:41
Television? The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good can come of it! – Andrew Leach Jun 16 '14 at 15:41
True, though the root ϝιδ is known in Greek. TV is, of course, a most damnable passivity. – Brian Donovan Jun 16 '14 at 15:47
Perfect. Thank you. – Hal Jun 16 '14 at 17:01

You can't really create a word that means to study science in the sense you are looking for, as science is itself a general term for methods of studying (hence 'the scientific method'). Practically speaking, the word you are looking for is probably methodology; the study of the methods used to test something.


The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

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Well, there is philosophy of science (Kuhn, Popper, Fleck), which certainly goes beyond issues of methodology. – outis nihil Jun 16 '14 at 16:26
Indeed there is! Methods, relationship between science and truth, foundations, implications and ethics are all somewhat within its realm. I was answering within the context of a one-word answer, but I agree that philosophy of science probably covers the sense of the sought word better. – Sam Jun 16 '14 at 16:32

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