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Why are weather scientists called meteorologists?

Why are weather scientists called meteorologists?

It would seem logical that a meteorologist would be someone who studies meteors. But meteorologists actually study weather.

As with many modern scientific terms, the reason lies in the ancient Greek language.

More than 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote something called "Meteorologica," a compilation of what was at the time complete Western knowledge of weather and climate.

Aristotle took the name from meteoros, a Greek word that referred to anything that was in, came from or fell from the sky.

But meteorologists do study many phenomena that incorporate the word meteor. For example, their research could include hydrometeors, which would be things such as rain and snow. Thunder and lightning are examples of electrometeors, and the dust that blows in the wind can also be called lithometeors.

By the way, someone who specializes in studying meteors is called a meteorist.

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