It’s more diverse than you say, Teratology Society!

I was a bit disappointed with this video.

Some of us see teratology as a tool to probe normal developmental processes — it’s been that way for centuries. Teratology is the science that studies the causes, mechanisms, and patterns of abnormal development. It’s much more than just figuring how to prevent or correct human developmental disorders…not to belittle that extremely important aspect of the discipline.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    “Tera” comes from the same root as “monster“, so a society of studiers of same should offer an amazing array of individuals needing a very large meeting space.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I always wondered where the word teratogen came from. Thanks for the etymology.

  3. leerudolph says

    Pierce R. Butler @1:

    “Tera” comes from the same root as “monster

    The Oxford English Dictionary gives the root of “tera-” as classical Greek “τέρας, τερατ a marvel, prodigy” (going no further) and that of “monster” as classical Latin “mōnstrum portent, prodigy, monstrous creature, wicked person, monstrous act, atrocity < the base of monēre to warn” (again, going no further). The American Heritage dictionary does go further, claiming that the (reconstructed) Proto-Indo-European root of τέρας, τερατ is kʷer- (with a cluster of meanings related to making; “[a]n important derivative is karma“) and that of monēre is men (with a cluster of meanings related to thinking), in particular, the “o-grade” form mon with the causative suffix eyo.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I would favor teratocracy (rule by monsters) over teratology.
    Smaug was a cunning reptile that would fit right in.
    And while not technically a supernatural entity, Hannibal Lecter had more class than The Donald. Someone going missing every fortnight would be a cheap price for competent government.
    As for blood-drinkers, they would bring centuries of administrative experience to the table, but we would need to hold policy meetings at uncomfortable hours.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    leerudolph @ # 3 – Uh-oh, we have a clash of etymologies here!

    My Merriam-Webster sayeth:

    tera… from Greek teras ‘monster.’


    monster… from late Middle English: from Old French monstre, from Latin monstrum ‘portent or monster,’ from monere ‘warn.’ (“Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary”):

    tera…from Greek teras monster (and the same under “British” usage, from the Collins English Dictionary);

    monstera…from 1250–1300; Middle English monstre < Latin mōnstrum portent, unnatural event, monster, equivalent to mon(ēre) to warn + -strum noun suffix).

    Oxford & London may resemble post-Godzilla Tokyo by the time they resolve this…