Word of the Day


© Alamy Stock Photo
Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the scientific study of weather

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun meteorology comes from Greek words meaning ‘the study of the atmosphere’. It was first used in the mid 16th century, with ‘meteorologist’ coming roughly a century later.


March 23rd is World Meteorological Day. It is one of the longer-established of these events, having started in 1961. The day is sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization and commemorates the coming into force of the Convention establishing the Organization on 23 March 1950. Since it falls the day after World Water Day, the organizers of the two events this year chose a shared theme, Climate and Water. Meteorology is the scientific study of weather and a meteorologist is someone who does this. Meteorological means relating to the scientific study of weather. In the UK the Met Office, short for the Meteorological Office, is the government department that studies the weather and prepares reports called weather forecasts on what it is going to be like. The connection with meteors is that the word ‘meteor’ was originally used, especially in the plural, to refer to all atmospheric phenomena, including wind, rain, snow, rainbows, the auroras, lightning and shooting stars.


“People look down on stuff like geography and meteorology, and not only because they’re standing on one and being soaked by the other. They don’t look quite like real science. But geography is only physics slowed down and with a few trees stuck on it, and meteorology is full of excitingly fashionable chaos and complexity.”
(Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay)

Related words

climate, forecaster, weather station

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

Leave a Comment