Greek "Pathos" means "disease" or "suffering". In that sense "Psychopath" means "a person with an antisocial personality disorder". Originating from the same root "Osteopath" means "A therapist who manipulates the skeleton and muscles". Shouldn't it mean "Suffering of Skeleton and muscle"? And, Shouldn't "A therapist who manipulates the skeleton and muscles" be represented by "Osteopathologist"?

Greek "Logos" means "Science". Biology = "Study of living beings". Zoology= "Study of animals". Then why "Study of plants" is represented by "Botany". It should be "Botanology". Isn't it?

So, what are the explanations about the two words (1) Osteopath and (2) Botany?

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    I don't understand why you mention logos. Are you suggesting that osteopath should be an -ology word instead? It's simply short for “practitioner of osteopathic medicine” and is not parallel to psychopath. I'm not sure what you're really asking here though. – Bradd Szonye Nov 2 '13 at 4:11
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    Related: Meaning of '-onomy', '-ology' and '-ography'. Botanometry FTW. – choster Nov 2 '13 at 4:21
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    The whole of the answer is that language is as it is, not as somebody thinks it should be. – Colin Fine Nov 2 '13 at 8:19
  • osteopath is a backformation from osteopathy, botany from botanic – Mitch Nov 2 '13 at 17:03

As for -path I agree with user49727 (and so do MW and ODO), but I would like to add something about botany.

Merriam-Webster online states that:

Origin of BOTANY botanic botanical + 2-y First Known Use: 1696

And their 2nd definition of suffix -y:


noun suffix \same\ plural -ies

Definition of -Y

1 : state : condition : quality beggary

2 : activity, place of business, or goods dealt with chandlery laundry

3 : whole body or group soldiery

Origin of -Y Middle English -ie, from Anglo-French, from Latin -ia, from Greek -ia, -eia

Oxford Dictionaries Online has similar explanation for etymology of the word botany


Late 17th century: from earlier botanic (from French botanique, based on Greek botanikos, from botanē 'plant') + -y3.

And their 3rd definition of -y

-y 3

Pronunciation: /i/


Forming nouns:

1Denoting a state, condition, or quality: honesty jealousy orthodoxy

2Denoting an action or its result: blasphemy victory

Botanic and botanical are adjectives, and to name a science, or a branch of biology if you like, one needs a noun. There are other sciences which don't end in -ology and don't specifically have a suffix that denotes science or knowledge such as physics or chemistry.


The suffix -path means either of the following:

  1. person who practises a particular kind of medical treatment (back-formation from -pathy).

  2. person who suffers from a particular disorder (derived from pathos)

As for botany the word is formed using a different rule to that of adding suffix -logos. It is formed by adding suffix -y as in astronomy.


Greek "logos" means "word", "speech" &c. So an "-ologist" is one who "speaks about" (i.e., studies and knows about things).

"Zoology" is from Greek "zoion "an animal," literally "a living being". So "zoology" is the study of animals. A zoo is where animals are. The name "Zoe" means "life".

"Botanology" probably got shortened to "botany". The stem "bota-" means "plant".