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 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 As part of the filing, Thomas More Society included a declaration from Dr. Alan Sandstrom, who serves as a professor of anthropology at Purdue University at Fort Wayne. Sam Dorman, Fox News, 29 Sep. 2021 According to Lisbeth Louderback, curator of anthropology at the Natural Museum of Utah, these plants have been grown by Indigenous peoples, including the Hopi, since over 11,000 years ago. The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Sep. 2021 Jordan, a resident of Downers Grove, earned her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Ohio State University with a minor in history. Beacon-news Staff, chicagotribune.com, 27 Sep. 2021 When the Ann Arbor schools canceled after-school care over the summer, Alicia R. Ventresca Miller, an assistant professor of anthropology at Michigan, panicked. New York Times, 21 Sep. 2021 Heather Levi, an assistant professor of anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia, spent more than a year training with a group of luchadores in Mexico in the 1990s. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Sep. 2021 Durante earned a bachelor’s in anthropology at Florida Atlantic University. Mort Mazor, sun-sentinel.com, 15 July 2021 Martin puts her background in anthropology to use in this sometimes vicious study of the women of the UES. Washington Post, 15 July 2021 Matthee-O’Brien recently graduated from Reed with a degree in anthropology. oregonlive, 17 June 2021

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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Learn More About anthropology

Time Traveler for anthropology

Time Traveler

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

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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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 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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