Epistemology is a subfield in philosophy concentrated on the theory of knowledge. Sounds boring? Well, it was coined in 1856 by the even more boring writer J.F. Ferrier, who was so prosaic that the major accomplishment on his Wikipedia page is how he "introduced the word epistemology". Apart from the -ology suffix denoting a science, the root here is the Ancient Greek word episteme, which meant "knowledge". Here we can break off the prefix epi-, which meant "over" or "around" and comes from Proto-Indo-European opi, with a similar meaning but perhaps more of a connotation of "near". The root of epistemology, meanwhile, is Ancient Greek histasthai (which obviously appears a little cropped in today's word). This had the definition of "stand". One who stands around has knowledge, according to the Greeks, apparently. Finally, this comes to Proto-Indo-European sta, also meaning "stand". Ferrier's contribution was helpful, apparently; usage of epistemology has been increasing almost exponentially in recent years.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.