clio·​met·​rics ˌklī-ə-ˈme-triks How to pronounce cliometrics (audio)
plural in form but singular in construction
: the application of methods developed in other fields (such as economics, statistics, and data processing) to the study of history
cliometric adjective
cliometrician noun

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Cliometrics comes from a combination of "Clio," the name of the Greek Muse of history, and "-metrics," as in "econometrics" ("the application of statistical methods to the study of economic data and problems") or "biometrics" ("the statistical analysis of biological observations and phenomena"). American economists Douglass North and Robert Fogel developed cliometrics, a highly quantitative means for studying the past. In 1993, North and Fogel won the Nobel Prize in Economics for their pioneering work.

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Word History


Clio + -metrics (as in econometrics)

First Known Use

1960, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cliometrics was in 1960


Dictionary Entries Near cliometrics

Cite this Entry

“Cliometrics.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cliometrics

Last Updated: 23 Aug 2022

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