In the mail today, an ad for the game Morphology:

Morphology, the hilarious guessing game where CREATIVITY WINS!

Morphology is a fun, creative and challenging party board game combining simple shapes, your imagination and creativity. Using wooden sticks, glass beads and colored cubes how would you create a “butterfly”? …or “airplane”? Now try doing it with your eyes closed or using only the string! Morphology takes unique twists and turns, and has everyone laughing out loud. For ages 13 and up.

The name of the game turns on the Greek root morph- ‘form’. Morphology is a much-used term, though the different senses are very unlikely to interfere with one another in actual practice.

There is in fact a Wikipedia disambiguation page for the word, which provides a cornucopia of technical uses:

Morphology (linguistics), the study of the structure and content of word forms

Morphology (biology), the study of the form or shape of an organism or part thereof

Morphology (molecular), study of how the shape and form of molecules affect their chemical properties, dynamic reconfiguration and interactions

Morphology (astronomy), the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies, or other extended objects

Morphology (folkloristics), the structure of narratives such as folk tales

Geomorphology, the study of landforms

Mathematical morphology, a theoretical model based on lattice theory, used for digital image processing

Morphology (architecture and engineering), a research, which is based on theories of two dimensional and three dimensional symmetries, and then uses these geometries for planning buildings and structures.

River morphology, the field of science dealing with changes of river planform

Urban morphology, the study of growth and development of functions in cities

Morphology (materials science), the study of shape, size, texture and phase distribution of physical objects.

Morphology (ideology), the study of the conceptual structure of ideologies, and the rules defining the admissibility of meanings into concepts.

Each of these uses has its own history, many of them unrelated to one another. Well, the Greek root is there, free for the taking.

Footnote: if you google on {“morphology” “Zwicky”}, you’ll get two sets of hits, with essentially no overlap: stuff about me and morphology in linguistics, and stuff about Fritz Zwicky and morphology in astronomy.

One Response to “Morphology”

  1. Kate Says:

    Thanks for the mention! We (Morphology Games) picked the name Morphology because of the first definition you mention: “Morphology (linguistics), the study of the structure and content of word forms.” Given that in Morphology, the game, you BUILD words, we thought it was suggestive of this first definition. Great post!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: