The term “ontology” comes from the Greek words “ὤν” (ōn), meaning “being” or “existence,” and “λόγος” (logos), meaning “study” or “discourse.” Here’s a detailed chronological breakdown:

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*es-” means “to be.”

2. Ancient Greek

From the PIE root, the Ancient Greek word “ὤν” (ōn) developed, which is the present participle of “εἰμί” (eimí), meaning “to be.” The suffix “-λογία” (-logia) comes from “λόγος” (logos), meaning “word,” “study,” or “science.” Combined, “ὀντολογία” (ontologia) means “the study of being.”

3. Late Latin

The Greek “ὀντολογία” (ontologia) was adopted into Late Latin as “ontologia,” retaining the same meaning of “the study of being.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The term “ontologia” influenced Middle English, although “ontology” as a specific term did not yet exist in English.

5. Modern English (from 17th century CE to present)

The term “ontology” was introduced in the early 17th century, combining the Greek “ὤν” (ōn) and “λόγος” (logos) to form “ontology,” referring to the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being, existence, and reality.

The word “ontology” reflects the philosophical study of being, existence, and the fundamental nature of reality. It is a central branch of metaphysics that explores what entities exist and how they can be grouped, related, and categorized.