10 Types Of “Ologists” You Ought To Know Right Now

When it comes to professions, “ologists” have a certain air of esteem, no matter which type they happen to be. OK, ologist itself isn’t an actual word; rather it’s a root word, which stems from ology, meaning “any science or branch of knowledge.” When you add various combining forms to ologist, you get terms that refer to the people who are experts in a particular science or branch of knowledge.

There are hundreds of types of ologists, including widely known ones, such as biologists (specialists in the science of life) and psychologists (specialists in the science of the mind or of mental states and processes). Others are so obscure and specific that you’ve probably never heard of them. Wypipologist, anyone?

Click through to see how many other ology professions you can identify from the title alone. By the end, you can even call yourself an expert on ologists ... or an ologist-ologist?

epidemiologist

Epidemiologists have been all over the news lately as the world copes with the coronavirus pandemic. They're the ones who study public concerns in a given population, which in the case of COVID-19, is the entire world. Beyond diseases, they may study other concerns such as violence and natural disasters. 

Evidence of the term epidemiology first appears around 1870–75, stemming from the word epidemic, defined as “(of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.” Note this is slightly different from a pandemic, which is defined as “(of a disease) prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world; epidemic over a large area.”

Epidemiologists study both.

immunologist

One of the most well-known immunologists of the moment is Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a presidential advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Immunology is, quite predictably, the study of the immune system. First evidence of the word immunology dates back to the early 1900s.

The word immune, however, dates back to 1400–50, stemming from the Latin word meaning "exempt."

vaccinologist

Many vaccinologists are likely working overtime now as the race is on for a vaccine against the coronavirus. As you probably know, a vaccine makes the body immune to a specific disease, and vaccinology is the science of vaccine development. Vaccines are usually prepared from killed or weakened forms of the disease-causing viruses or bacteria.

What you may not know is that we have cows to thank for the term. The word vaccine stems from the term vacca, from the Latin word for "cow." In 1798, a British physician injected patients with a cowpox virus in order to make them immune to deadly smallpox, and the term’s use grew from there.

climatologist

Climatology is, predictably, the study of climates. With so many people staying home during the current COVID-19 quarantine, climatologists are reporting some intriguing effects on Earth’s climate, including decreasing levels of pollution and other positive effects being seen across land, air, and sea. 

First evidence of the word climate dates back to 1350–1400, and it stems from the Latin word for "climate" or "the generally prevailing weather conditions of a region."

oologist

Just one extra O turns ologist into oologist, which is someone who studies bird eggs. This person may not be solving pandemics, but the double oo in this word is worth a fun mind break.

First evidence of the term dates back to 1825–35. Oo is a combining form of the word egg, and stems from the Greek word for egg, ōión. With an entire science devoted to the study, you’d think someone would have figured out if the chicken or egg came first, no? 

Most words that start with oo are related to animal and human biology including oogamete and oocyst, though some have nothing to do with eggs at all such as oodles and oompa loompas.

mixologist

Have you become your own bartender lately. Or are you a mixologist? That may be a matter of personal preference and how fancy the drinks a particular person behind the bar is pouring.

While it seems like a newfangled hipster phrase, and it’s often used facetiously, evidence of the term actually dates back to the mid 1800s. It’s an Americanism stemming from the word mix, which means “to combine (substances, elements, things, etc.) into one mass, collection, or assemblage, generally with a thorough blending of the constituents.” 

serologist

A serologist is a specialist in serology, the science dealing with the immunological properties and actions of serum.

Serum is a clear, pale-yellow liquid that separates out from the clot when blood is coagulated. Serologists work to identify antibodies in serum. The body produces antibodies to help fight off disease-causing germs and other foreign agents.

When antibodies are identified in the blood serum of animals with an immunity to a disease, the serum may be injected into other animals in an effort to transfer that immunity.

Serum derives from the Latin serum, meaning “whey.” (Whey is the watery liquid that is separated out from curds in the cheese-making process.)

virologist

While serologists focus on antibodies, other scientists are tasked with studying the virus itself: virologists.

Christian Drosten, Germany's leading virologist, currently hosts the most popular podcast in the country, "Coronavirus Update." The technical name of the virus that causes COVID-19 is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, abbreviated as SARS-CoV-2.

The word virus refers to an "an ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent" and, informally, "a viral disease." It is derived from the Latin word vīrus, which means "slime, poison; akin to ooze" (pretty much capturing how we feel about diseases). Virology is a relatively new word, dating back to the 1930s.

wypipologist

Time for a slang break because slang has created an “ologist” or two over the years as well. Take wypipologist, which is used by some to humorously describe someone who studies wypipo, aka “white people.”

It’s a relatively new term, with first evidence of it popping up around 2016, stemming from a Black colloquial pronunciation of “white people.” Entire blogs, such as “Stuff White People Like” have been devoted to the study of wypipology, and it’s some pretty humorous stuff.

etymologist

Last, but certainly not least on our list of “ologists” is an etymologist—someone who studies how words change over time. We couldn't leave this one off.

Evidence of the term dates back to 1350–1400 stemming from the Greek terms étymos, meaning "true," and lógos meaning "word, reason."

Etymologists are not to be confused with etiologists (those who study the causes of diseases) or entomologists (those who study insects), though there’s a joke in there somewhere about all three walking into a bar.