anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \

Definition of anthropology

1 : the science of human beings especially : the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture
2 : theology dealing with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings

Other Words from anthropology

anthropological \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adverb
anthropologist \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​ˈpä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ noun

The Origin of Anthropology

The word anthropology dates back to the late 16th century, but it was not until the 19th century that it was applied to the academic discipline that now bears its name. In the United States, this field of study is typically divided into four distinct branches: physical (or biological) anthropology, archaeology, cultural (or social) anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

Anthropology is from the New Latin word anthropologia (“the study of humanity”) and shares its ultimate root in Greek, anthrōpos (“human being”), with a number of other words in English, such as anthropomorphize, philanthropy, and misanthrope.

Examples of anthropology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Teresa Montoya, who is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Chicago, has family from the Puerco Valley in Sanders. Arlyssa D. Becenti, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2022 Museum Coordinator Elise Maragliano has worked at the American Museum of Natural History and taught anthropology at Southern Connecticut State University. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 27 June 2022 Remains have been uncovered in all 50 states and are now on display in museums, in university labs for anthropology research and tucked away in boxes in the back of closets across the country. Celina Tebor, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2021 Following the discovery, the remains were sent to the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification, where an anthropology report was completed and DNA was extracted. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 28 June 2022 Why was the history of nonindustrial people anthropology and not history? Elif Batuman, The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 One member of the committee, Field Museum curator of North American anthropology Alaka Wali, told the Tribune that the concerns raised by others on the email thread were broadly held. Gregory Pratt, chicagotribune.com, 7 Apr. 2022 In January 1969, during the winter of discontent that followed the assassinations and the uprisings, a dazzling anthropology graduate student was murdered in her apartment, on the edge of Harvard Square, on the eve of her doctoral qualifying exams. Jane Kamensky, WSJ, 13 Nov. 2020 As an undergraduate at Harvard, Cooper became obsessed with the unsolved murder of Jane Britton, an anthropology student there, in 1969. Joumana Khatib, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anthropology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of anthropology

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anthropology

borrowed from New Latin anthropologia "study of humanity, science of human nature," from anthropo- anthropo- + -logia -logy

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Time Traveler for anthropology

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The first known use of anthropology was in 1593

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Dictionary Entries Near anthropology

anthropolith

anthropology

anthropomancy

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Statistics for anthropology

Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for anthropology

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \

Kids Definition of anthropology

: a science that studies people and especially their history, development, distribution and culture

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpäl-ə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \
plural anthropologies

Medical Definition of anthropology

: the science of humans especially : the study of humans in relation to distribution, origin, classification, and relationship of races, physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture

Other Words from anthropology

anthropological \ -​pə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adverb
anthropologist \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​ˈpäl-​ə-​jəst How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropology

Nglish: Translation of anthropology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anthropology

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