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

n the cause of a disease

Synonyms:
aetiology
Type of:
cause
events that provide the generative force that is the origin of something

n the philosophical study of causation

Synonyms:
aetiology
Type of:
philosophy
the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics

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