anthropology

noun

an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio)
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
anthropological adjective
anthropologically adverb
anthropologist noun

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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 His work has appeared in publications including Science News, Science, Nature, and Scientific American. anthropology evolution 1 free article left Want More? Paul Smaglik, Discover Magazine, 29 May 2024 And all of them ended up going to college and majoring in anthropology. Gisele Grayson, NPR, 23 May 2024 In the past two years, for example, the Association for Asian American Studies, the largest professional association in the field, has stressed the need for more attention to the study of Asian America in social sciences such as political science, anthropology, economics and psychology. Pawan Dhingra, The Conversation, 21 May 2024 Joseph Gone, a professor of anthropology at Harvard who has spent 25 years studying the intersection of colonialism, culture and mental health in Indigenous communities, agreed. Tyrone Beason, Los Angeles Times, 21 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for anthropology 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anthropology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of anthropology was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near anthropology

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpäl-ə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio)
: the science of human beings and especially of their physical characteristics, their origin, their environment and social relations, and their culture
anthropological adjective
anthropologist noun

Medical Definition

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpäl-ə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio)
plural anthropologies
: 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
anthropological adjective
anthropologically adverb
anthropologist noun

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