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

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Other Words from anthropology

anthropological \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce anthropological (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropologically (audio) \ adverb
anthropologist \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​ˈpä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce anthropologist (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 The Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa has had items inventoried for NAGPRA purposes since the 1990s, said Emily Early, the museum's curator of anthropology. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "Tribes' human remains and cultural items have been scattered across the U.S. Here's how they get returned," 27 June 2020 Recent studies show enormous gaps in political identification in several scientific disciplines—particularly in sociology, psychology, and anthropology, where conservatives are a tiny minority. Ari Schulman, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus and the Right’s Scientific Counterrevolution," 15 June 2020 Bookstores labelled it fiction, nonfiction, sociology, anthropology, biography, women’s literature, Chinese literature, and Asian literature. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Maxine Hong Kingston’s Genre-Defying Life and Work," 1 June 2020 The field of anthropology, which thrived in the last century, has deteriorated in recent years; this is a loss. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "What Plant-Based Burgers Can Teach Us About Saving the Planet," 1 Apr. 2020 Winner of the National Book Award, this is considered a classic of natural history, anthropology, and travel writing. David James, Anchorage Daily News, "22 Alaska books our reviewers recommend for when you’re hunkered down," 27 Mar. 2020 My mother studied anthropology in college, so our conversations really go on for hours and hours on end about how everything is not black and white. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, ""On My Block" Star Julio Macias on Why Spooky Still Might Be a Bad Guy After The Season 3 Finale," 21 Mar. 2020 Gateway2NKU offered 70 different academic tracks including business administration, early childhood education, anthropology, and Spanish in the current academic year, according to the Gateway2NKU website. Chris Mayhew, Cincinnati.com, "Northern Kentucky University makes college free for students graduating from 6 high schools," 5 Feb. 2020 Beaches were poorly maintained, and dead fish often floated alongside the swimmers, according to Paul Mullins, an IUPUI anthropology professor. Sarah Bowman, IndyStar, "The White River: Cleanup follows decades of civil rights abuses. Now who will benefit?," 2 May 2020

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.

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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

Time Traveler

The first known use of anthropology was in 1593

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Statistics for anthropology

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for anthropology

anthropology

noun
How to pronounce anthropology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of anthropology

: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on anthropology

Spanish Central: Translation of anthropology

Nglish: Translation of anthropology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anthropology

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