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  1. the branch of philosophy dealing with the origin and general structure of the universe, with its parts, elements, and laws, and especially with such of its characteristics as space, time, causality, and freedom.
  2. the branch of astronomy that deals with the general structure and evolution of the universe.

Origin of cosmology

From the New Latin word cosmologia, dating back to 1650–60. See cosmo-, -logy
Related formscos·mol·o·ger, cos·mol·o·gist, nouncos·mo·log·i·cal [koz-muh-loj-i-kuh l] /ˌkɒz məˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, cos·mo·log·ic, adjectivecos·mo·log·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for cosmology


  1. the philosophical study of the origin and nature of the universe
  2. the branch of astronomy concerned with the evolution and structure of the universe
  3. a particular account of the origin or structure of the universePtolemaic cosmology
Derived Formscosmological (ˌkɒzməˈlɒdʒɪkəl) or cosmologic, adjectivecosmologically, adverbcosmologist, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cosmology

1650s, from Modern Latin cosmologia, from Greek kosmos (see cosmos) + -logia "discourse" (see -logy). Related: Cosmological; cosmologist.

They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars--on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places.

[Robert Frost, from "Desert Places," 1936]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cosmology in Science


  1. The scientific study of the origin, evolution, and structure of the universe.
  2. A specific theory or model of the origin and evolution of the universe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cosmology in Culture



A system of beliefs that seeks to describe or explain the origin and structure of the universe. A cosmology attempts to establish an ordered, harmonious framework that integrates time, space, the planets, stars, and other celestial phenomena. In so-called primitive societies, cosmologies help explain the relationship of human beings to the rest of the universe and are therefore closely tied to religious beliefs and practices. In modern industrial societies, cosmologies seek to explain the universe through astronomy and mathematics. Metaphysics also plays a part in the formation of cosmologies. (See also under “Physical Sciences and Mathematics.”)



The branch of science dealing with the large-scale structure, origins, and development of the universe. (See astronomy and Big Bang theory.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.