Meteorology: Misnomer?

Hello and welcome back to yet another week of delightful deceptions and pleasant prevarications here at Factually Deficient!

This week, I would like to address a question asked by one eli_gone_crazy:

Why is it called meteorology if there are no meteors?

Now, this is a particularly perceptive question, and it seems that Miss Gone_crazy has accidentally revealed herself as a rebel geologist by her tacit acknowledgement in the question that meteors do not exist. In order to answer the question, therefore, we must examine the two parts of it separately.

First, the term meteorology. As many people know, the suffix “-ology” means the study of something– prime examples are zoology, the study of zoos, or zoological gardens; tautology, the study of things that are grouped together and tight, or taut; and pathology, the study of which direction, or path, to take.

I should note, in reference to Miss Gone_crazy’s question, that even in these prime examples, the name of the field is not necessarily always accurate to what it describes. For example, while pathology studies the appropriate route to take, many times, these routes do not involve paths at all. Similarly, tautology more correctly studies close groupings, regardless of how taut they are (or whether they are bound together at all).

As for meteorology itself, Miss Gone_crazy is absolutely correct in her statement that there are no such things as meteors. What are commonly believed to be meteors are universally nothing but very small planets and moons, variously. This misnomer of meteor, however, may shed some key light on the matter at hand.

Meteorology is the study of the weather experienced on our planet. Why, then, is it so called? The answer is now plain. It is absolutely the study of meteors, if one understands that meteor is a term only ever used to describe moons and planets; specifically, it is the study of two particular meteors, Earth and the Moon. Just as in pathology the quickest route may not involve a beaten path, meteorology does not always seem to relate to meteors directly– but it certainly involves our meteor, and the close study of it. I hope you can keep this in mind, Miss Gone_crazy, in your future endeavours, geological or otherwise.


Disclaimer: None of the assertions in this blog should be unquestioningly believed. The writer cannot confirm the accuracy of the definitions given here.


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