Correct Spelling: HerbAlogy or herbOlogy?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Dot
Posted on: November 04, 2010

I attend many of Richters seminars & enjoy them very much. I have a Master of Herbology from Emerson College of Herbology in 1980, as well as having studied under Dr John Christopher in Utah on >herbalism in 1979-80. I have a homeopath who insists that "herbalogy" has a different meaning from the term "herbology". I myself only use the spelling with the "o". Please what is your opinion? Are they >both legitimate spellings with different meanings? I appreciate your opinion whenever you have the time.

If there is a difference in meaning between the two then I don’t know it.

Both suffixes "ology" and "logy" are used to denote the "study of". To me, "herbology" makes more sense because it means "the study of herbs" whereas "herbalogy" must mean the study of that which is "herbal", an adjective rather than a noun. Otherwise, logically it might mean the study of herbals, i.e. treatises on herbal practice such as John Gerard’s The Herbal or Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. However, I don’t believe that anyone uses "herbalogy" in this latter way.

"Herbology" is by far the more commonly used word. The "herbalogy" spelling was used by Alma Hutchens for the title of her book Indian Herbalogy of North America, a usage that always seemed to me to be jarring and was possibly a typographical error. A Google search reveals that this spelling does seem to crop up still; but I would guess the persistence of this spelling derives from a fairly common usage of "herbals" as a noun used to refer to "herbs".

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