Key Biology Terms (and How to Remember Them)

, Staff Writer
Updated June 2, 2020
water cycle key biology terms
    water cycle key biology terms
    VectorMine / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Just the thought “biology terms” might elicit a groan from a classroom or students. However, biology is an interesting and diverse field covering different subjects. Dive into different biology terms and how to remember them.

Basic Biology Terms for Anatomy

Look at the different anatomical structures found in biology through exploring these biology terms.

  • abdomen - area containing the digestive organs (belly)
  • abdominal cavity - space containing crucial digestive organs in animals and plants
  • animal cell - basic units making up animals
  • antibody - blood protein that recognizes the presence of foreign invaders in the blood such as bacteria and viruses
  • blood - constantly flowing fluid that provides oxygen, carbon dioxide removal, and nutrition
  • brain - central control area of the nervous system
  • cartilage - flexible connective tissue like that in nose
  • chlorophyll - green pigment in plants used for light absorption
  • digestive system - body system used for absorption of nutrients and removal of waste products
  • fat - naturally occurring oil deposited in layers under skin in animals
  • heart - center of the circulatory system that pumps blood through the body
  • lymphatic system - network of organs and tissues used for waste removal
  • muscle - tissue with long cells that connect bones and makes movement possible
  • nervous system - system of cells and structures that transmit impulses through the body
  • pineal gland - hormone emitting gland in the brain
  • pituitary gland - the major endocrine gland of the body, controls growth and development
  • plant cell - the basic unit that creates all plants, eukaryotic cells
  • respiratory system - the organ system that deals with getting oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide out
  • stomach - area with acids that digests foods in digestive system
  • sympathetic nervous system - part of the nervous system that controls automatic functions like heart rate and blood pressure
  • vacuole - part of a plant cell important for structural support
  • vesicle - area that stores and supports cellular products

Biology Terminology for Processes

Biology is full of different processes from how carbon cycles to water. Learn all the different biology terms for biology processes.

  • active transport - movement of molecules in cell membrane
  • carbon cycle - the series of events that move carbon dioxide through the atmosphere into organisms and back
  • commensalism - organism association without benefit or harm
  • condensation - the process where water vapor turns into liquid
  • diffusion - the spreading of something like light
  • ecosystem - the interaction of organisms in a biological community
  • facilitated diffusion - spontaneous movement of molecules in a cell
  • homeostasis - elements work together to keep a stable equilibrium
  • Krebs cycle - chemical reactions that occur in aerobic organisms to make energy
  • meiosis - cell division that results in four daughter cells half coming from each parent
  • mitosis - cell division with two daughter cells each having same number of chromosomes
  • nitrogen cycle - series of events where nitrogen from air to soil to organisms and back
  • osmosis - cycle where solvent is passed through a membrane from less concentration to more concentration
  • scientific method - the principles and procedures used to create and test theories
  • symbiosis - advantageous relationship between organisms
  • transpiration - plant process where water is released through stomata
  • water cycle - the circulation of water through the atmosphere, lands, and ocean

Important Terms of Biology

Dive into other important biology terms covering all the different areas of biology.

  • algae - simple aquatic plant
  • allele - the forms of a gene that can mutate
  • amoeba - single-celled animal free-living in parasitic and damp environments
  • bacteria - large unicellular organisms that can cause disease
  • biodiversity - various organisms and life in a habitat or ecosystem
  • DNA - self-replicating material
  • extinction - a species that no longer exists or will not exist soon
  • fungus - group of spore-producing organisms
  • gene - material that is transferred to children from parents
  • genetics - study of heredity and characteristics
  • genotype - genetic constitution investigation
  • heterotroph - organism that derives nutritional requirements from organic substances
  • metamorphosis - transformation process from immature to mature form like butterflies
  • mutualism - symbiotic relationship that is beneficial for both organisms
  • natural selection - the adaptation of organisms where only strong or beneficial genes survive
  • omnivore - animal that eats both plants and animals
  • organelle - different structures in a working and living cell
  • organism - life forms like plants, animals, and single-celled
  • pathology - disease science that looks at cause and effects
  • photosynthesis - how plants use the sun to synthesize food
  • solute - component in a solution that dissolves
  • solvent - component that dissolves other substances
  • virus - infective agent only seen by microscope

Remembering Biology Terms

Biology terms can be hard to figure out and remember. However, there are several devices you can use to remember the different terms.

Memorable Phrases

One of the best ways to remember biological concepts is to use funny or memorable phrases. For example, you could write a song to remember the basic equation for photosynthesis. Creating a song or funny phrase might help you remember how photosynthesis works. A fun example is:

Cows eat wet grass outside.

Carbon dioxide + Energy + Water = Glucose + Oxygen

Create Flashcards

It seems boring but the process of making the flashcards will help you to remember your terms. Why? Because as you are writing them down, they become easier to remember. If you are a visual person, draw a picture. You’ll be amazed when you see the image while taking your test. And remember, flashcards don’t have to be boring. Get creative by using different colors and really giving your flashcards your own style.


Having Fun With Biology Terms

Fun and biology don’t seem like two words that go together. However, the more you explore the field, it becomes quite interesting. To keep your knowledge of biology going, check out natural ecosystem examples for biology.