Printable Version
Pronunciation: es-kê-tah-lê-ji Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. The area of theology dealing with the four last things: death, judgment, heaven, hell, in other words, the destiny of the soul. 2. The discussion about the end of the world, of humanity.

Notes: Today's word is for those of you who are thinking that the world is about to end. It is your research area. The adjective is the regular eschatological and the adverb the expectable eschatologically. Someone who conducts eschatological speculation is an eschatologist. The end matter of a charter or contract is known in legal circles as an eschatocol from Greek eschatos "last" + kolla "glue".

In Play: Eschatology is the study of life after death: "The death and resurrection of Christ is a key argument supporting all Christian eschatology." We see eschatological beings frequently in American movies and TV series: "Angels are virtual beings that haunt all theories of eschatology."

Word History: This word comes from Greek eskhatos "last, extreme, outermost" + -o, a compound connector, + -logia "study of" from logos "account, tale". The root of eskhatos comes from PIE eghs "out", origin of Latin ex [eks] "out of, (away) from", Greek ek "out of", and Russian iz "out of, (out) from". English borrowed so many words from Latin and Greek beginning on ex that it adopted it for a prefix meaning "former": ex-president, ex-gambler, ex-librarian. The English noun ex means "a member of a former love relationship": ex-wife or ex-husband, ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend. (Megacontributor and old friend of alphaDictionary Sue Gold of Westtown School thought we all might be interested in today's Good Word for endings.)

Dr. Goodword,

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