Psychology, or the scientific study of the human mind, is well known to have Greek origins, but let's delve a little bit further. Though the first psychologist, Wilhem Wundt, didn't show up until the late 1800s, the word psychology was first coined in the middle of the seventeenth century. It was an English modification of Latin psychologia, "the study of the soul", and definitely came from the Greek stem psykhe, which doubled as "soul" and "breath", since the Greeks believed those two to be interrelated. This was named after the goddess Psykhe, the beautiful goddess of the soul married to Eros (the Greek version of Cupid). This goddess' name, in turn, stems from Proto-Indo-European, where the speakers used bhes to mean "breath or to blow". The -ology suffix is pretty common in science, coming from PIE leg, "to collect", through Greek logos and finally -logia, which was twisted around a little as it passed through two or three languages over three thousand years until -ology came into being. Through the ages, psychology directly had connections to the soul until it was finally used in an empirical sense to decribe the science of the mind (which according to the Greeks, was connected to the soul!). Technically, whenever you say "psychology", you're passing on the Proto-Indo-European ancestors and saying "collect your breath".
Adam Aleksic is a 220-month-old, 2800-ounce high school senior with disturbing interests in etymology, vexillology, geography, board games, limericks, and law. Adam will be studying linguistics at Harvard College in the fall.
The Etymology Nerd