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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Angela Perri, an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas A&M University, says the study of dire wolves became pretty low-hanging fruit after the show aired. Connor Lynch, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2022 Courtney Cecale, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Texas, has collected over 400 personal stories from North Texans about how the summer heat impacts their lives. Dallas News, 10 Aug. 2022 One of those investigators is Sarah Baires, an associate professor of anthropology at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 4 Jan. 2023 The key to this reinvention adventure will be automation engineers who understand not only robotics, but also systems engineering, materials science, ergonomics, and even a dash of anthropology. Kevin O'marah, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2022 Study coauthor Alex Piel, an associate professor of anthropology at UCL, told CNN that widely held theories follow a certain logic. Jack Guy, CNN, 14 Dec. 2022 From relationships to self esteem to medical diagnosis, Facebook is fertile ground for studies in psychology and anthropology, but without all those pesky human subjects regulations. Ncbi Rofl, Discover Magazine, 12 Mar. 2013 The group has pursued majors in anthropology, mechanical engineering, public health, and business, with Nicholas already looking to make his own entrée into the family business of buying and selling homes. Sunset Magazine, 27 Dec. 2022 Our team tackled this issue using our collective expertise in network theory, anthropology, cultural evolution and evolutionary biology. Sergi Valverde, The Conversation, 15 Dec. 2022 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.

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 30 Jan. 2023.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropology

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