As the title suggests, where did the name for the discipline 'Physics' come from? - does it mean something in Greek?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Physics comes from the greek word for nature: φύση $\endgroup$
    – PhotonBoom
    Dec 14, 2014 at 21:09
  • 8
    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the etymology of the word physics and not about physics. $\endgroup$
    – Kyle Kanos
    Dec 14, 2014 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ Do you want me to 'delete' this question? $\endgroup$
    – zordman
    Dec 14, 2014 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ Speaking unofficially: Give it a try over on HSM. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Dec 14, 2014 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ ... and interestingly the Greek comes from the indic/Indoeuropean root "pu-" with meanings of growth, swelling and thrusting up (of plants) - (distantly linked to the English "to bloom" or "a bloom" or German "eine Blume") and thus, ultimately, takes its Greek meaning "natural things" (things that grow, as opposed to things that are made by humans). See the first group of "pu-" entries in Pokorny's Indogermanic Dictionary; there are many Greek words there φῦσιγξ, φύσκα with meanings like "a growth" or "a bulb". $\endgroup$ Dec 15, 2014 at 0:50

1 Answer 1


The word 'Physics' comes from the Greek Word for 'Nature' (written as 'φύση').

From Google: 'etymology of physics'

physics - ˈfɪzɪks

noun: physics the branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of matter and energy. The subject matter of physics includes mechanics, heat, light and other radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. the physical properties and phenomena of something. plural noun: physics "the physics of plasmas"

Diagram to Show the Development of the word 'Physics'

Origin: late 15th century (denoting natural science in general, especially the Aristotelian system): plural of obsolete physic ‘physical (thing’), suggested by Latin physica, Greek phusika ‘natural things’ from phusis ‘nature’.

Thanks to 'glance' and 'PhotonicBoom' for help on getting this answer.


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