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John Wheeler, WDAY, Published June 07 2013

Weather Talk: ‘Meteorology’ sounds like it means study of meteors

The structure of the word “meteorology” is confusing in the modern world.

After all, meteorologists do not study meteors. Astronomers do that. Meteorologists study the weather. Weather is made up of stuff happening in the atmosphere, and it is meteorologists who study all this stuff.

The word “meteor” is descended from the Greek word “meteoron,” which means “things in the air,” so it does make sense even if the word is a bit archaic.

There was a push in the scientific community during the late 1800s and early 1900s to change the word “meteorology” to “aerology,” but it never took. Perhaps this is because it would have been too easy to refer to meteorologists as “airheads.” That would have been unfortunate.

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