The origin and usage through time of geologia, geognosy, geogony, oryctognosy, geology and geophysics, as characterised by their frequency of occurrence in the Google Books Ngram Corpus, is discussed. The English, French, German, Italian and Spanish corpuses used in this study have been normalised over the same timespan using the average frequencies of occurrence of the same set of ‘neutral’ words in each language (as advocated by Younes and Reips 2019). Use of the term geology is found to predate publication of James Hutton's Theory of the Earth in 1795 by about 100 years; geognosy, oryctognosy and geogony, much less commonly used, became established in the 1780s and began to fall out of use around 1820. The terms geologist, and geognost follow a similar pattern. The emergence of geophysics is a less familiar field: While the phrases physics of the Earth and physical geography can both be traced back to the early 1700s, geophysics only began to be used in the early 1800s and did not really become common until about 1860; geophysicist becomes common in German after 1860, but more generally after 1880. The first geophysics-related publications were bulletins from magnetic and seismic observatories and its first dedicated journal, Beiträge zur Geophysik, began publication in 1887, eighty years after the formation of The Geological Society of London. The tems earth science and geoscience, popular today, have steadily increased in their usage since being introduced in the 1880s and 1930s respectively.
Research Article| January 01 2020
ETYMOLOGY IN THE EARTH SCIENCES: FROM ‘GEOLOGIA' TO ‘GEOSCIENCE’
Earth Sciences History (2020) 39 (1): 1–27.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
RICHARD J. HOWARTH; ETYMOLOGY IN THE EARTH SCIENCES: FROM ‘GEOLOGIA' TO ‘GEOSCIENCE’. Earth Sciences History 1 January 2020; 39 (1): 1–27. doi: https://doi.org/10.17704/1944-6187-39.1.1
Download citation file:
Citing articles via
CANADA'S FIRST KNOWN DINOSAURS: PALAEONTOLOGY AND COLLECTING HISTORY OF UPPER CRETACEOUS VERTEBRATES IN SOUTHERN ALBERTA AND SASKATCHEWAN, 1874–1889
BRIGID E. CHRISTISON, DARREN H. TANKE, JORDAN C. MALLON
EDWARD HITCHCOCK'S GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF MASSACHUSETTS, 1830–1833
ROBERT T. MCMASTER