etiology

If you figure out the etiology of your friend's incessant hiccups, she'll be incredibly grateful, because etiology means "the cause of a disease or condition."

The noun etiology is usually used by doctors and researchers who study disease and other medical topics. It means "origin" when you use it to describe illness or medical disorders, and it also refers to the study of the way things are caused. This second definition of etiology includes the study of disease, but you can use it to talk about the origins of anything at all.

Definitions of etiology
  1. noun
    the cause of a disease
    synonyms: aetiology
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    type of:
    cause
    events that provide the generative force that is the origin of something
  2. noun
    the philosophical study of causation
    synonyms: aetiology
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    type of:
    philosophy
    the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
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