[ ur-guh-nom-iks ]
/ ˌɜr gəˈnɒm ɪks /
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See synonyms for: ergonomics / ergonomic on Thesaurus.com

noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
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Origin of ergonomics

1945–50; ergo-1 + -nomics (see -nomy, -ics) on the model of agronomics, bionomics, etc.

grammar notes for ergonomics

See -ics.


er·go·nom·ic, er·go·no·met·ric [ur-guh-nuh-me-trik], /ˌɜr gə nəˈmɛ trɪk/, adjectiveer·go·nom·i·cal·ly, adverber·gon·o·mist [ur-gon-uh-mist], /ɜrˈgɒn ə mɪst/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does ergonomics mean?

Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between people and their working environment, especially the equipment they use.

The field of ergonomics typically involves designing devices around the physical capabilities and comfort of the user. Such products, like desk chairs or computer accessories, are often described or marketed as ergonomic, indicating that they have been designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort and maximize efficiency. The term ergonomics is also sometimes used to refer to something’s ergonomic qualities, as in Our latest model features improved ergonomics.

Ergonomics is sometimes also called human engineering or biotechnology (though biotechnology is more commonly used in reference to the use of microorganisms in manufacturing or other industrial processes).

Example: When designing the steering wheel we kept highly accessible ergonomics in mind.

Where does ergonomics come from?

The first records of ergonomics come from the mid-1900s. The word comes from a combination of the Greek érgon, meaning “work,” and nomics, which is modeled after the names of other fields of study, like economics.

Ergonomics may seem like a very specific field of study, but not when you think about how much time we spend in our work environment. Even—and perhaps especially—if you work at a desk, the equipment you use affects the way you work and your overall health. Clicking a mouse, typing on a keyboard, and sitting on a chair might seem like low-impact activities, but when you do those things for hours at a time, they can have a major impact on your body. Those three things—computer mouses, keyboards, and office chairs—are some of the products most commonly marketed as ergonomic. If they truly are ergonomic, it means they were designed and manufactured using the principles of ergonomics. Ergonomics often deals with how to contour or shape products to better fit human hands, backs, or other body parts in order to reduce the discomfort that happens with extended use. The goal is usually less discomfort and, therefore, more efficiency.

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What are some other forms related to ergonomics?

  • ergonomic (adjective)
  • ergonometric (adjective)
  • ergonomically (adverb)
  • ergonomist (noun)

What are some synonyms for ergonomics?

What are some words that share a root or word element with ergonomics


What are some words that often get used in discussing ergonomics?

How is ergonomics used in real life?

Most people are familiar with the term ergonomic, especially in the marketing of products, but they’re probably less familiar with the field of ergonomics and what it involves.



Try using ergonomics!

Is ergonomics used correctly in the following sentence?

Ergonomics is especially important now that many people work at a desk for eight hours a day.

How to use ergonomics in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ergonomics

/ (ˌɜːɡəˈnɒmɪks) /

(functioning as singular) the study of the relationship between workers and their environment, esp the equipment they useAlso called: biotechnology

Derived forms of ergonomics

ergonomist (ɜːˈɡɒnəmɪst), noun

Word Origin for ergonomics

C20: from Greek ergon work + (eco) nomics
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

Medical definitions for ergonomics

[ ûr′gə-nŏmĭks ]

The applied science of equipment design, as for the workplace, intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for ergonomics

[ ûr′gə-nŏmĭks ]

The scientific study of equipment design, as in office furniture or transportation seating, for the purpose of improving efficiency, comfort, or safety.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for ergonomics

[ (ur-guh-nom-iks) ]

The technology concerned with the design, manufacture, and arrangement of products and environments to be safe, healthy, and comfortable for human beings.

notes for ergonomics

The term is most often encountered in discussions of the design of furniture, tools, and other things built to be used by humans.
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.