Medical Definition of Histology

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Histology: The study of the form of structures seen under the microscope (light, electron, infrared ). Also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it. The word "histology" came from the Greek "histo-" meaning tissue + "logos", treatise.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018
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Medically reviewed by Martin Zipser, MD; Board Certified: Surgery