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 \ -​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce anthropological (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ -​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

Prince Charles, however, was the first heir to the throne to get a university degree, studying archaeology and anthropology before switching to history at Trinity College Cambridge. Marcia Moody, Town & Country, "Here's What Prince George and Princess Charlotte's Royal Education Will Entail," 26 Aug. 2018 An answer has emerged from an exciting new field of science: forensic anthropology. Mike Fillon, Popular Mechanics, "The Real Face Of Jesus," 23 Jan. 2015 There is significant evidence from evolutionary anthropology and developmental psychology that old and young are built for each other. Marc Freedman, WSJ, "Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide," 1 Nov. 2018 Of all her students, the one who seemed to benefit most from Olivia was a round-faced blond sophomore in college with whom Jackie worked on essays for English, art history, and anthropology. Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, "Algren Award finalist: "Olivia" by Sophia Veltfort," 2 June 2018 Black Panther’s Marvelization of black history and anthropology is pathetic, and the Marvelizing of black imagination is appalling. Armond White, National Review, "Black Panther’s Circle of Hype," 16 Feb. 2018 The remains were originally sent to the Nevada State Museum, according to The Associated Press and Elko Daily Free Press, and were eventually transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas anthropology department. NBC News, "Remains exhumed from forgotten Chinese cemetery reburied after two decades," 4 July 2018 Memorial donations can be made to the Harold L. Dibble Mini-Me Fund at the Paleoanthropology Society and to Penn’s anthropology department. Avalon R. Zoppo, Philly.com, "Harold L. Dibble, 66, Penn archaeologist who led discovery of 'world's oldest child'," 21 June 2018 The natural history museum houses some of Brazil’s most precious pieces of archeology, zoology, anthropology, and paleontology—roughly 20 million items in total. Lale Arikoglu, Condé Nast Traveler, "Brazil Mourns Loss of Rio de Janeiro's National Museum After Devastating Fire," 4 Sep. 2018

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

New Latin anthropologia, from anthrop- + -logia -logy

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Last Updated

22 Mar 2019

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The first known use of anthropology was in 1593

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More Definitions for anthropology

anthropology

noun

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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