ethol·​o·​gy | \ ē-ˈthä-lə-jē How to pronounce ethology (audio) \

Definition of ethology

1 : a branch of knowledge dealing with human character and with its formation and evolution
2 : the scientific and objective study of animal behavior especially under natural conditions

Other Words from ethology

ethological \ ˌē-​thə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce ethology (audio) , ˌe-​thə-​ \ adjective
ethologist \ ē-​ˈthä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce ethology (audio) \ noun

Examples of ethology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Until the publication of the first modern ethology textbook (The Study of Instinct, by Nikolaas Tinbergen) in 1951, however, field work wasn’t an important part of zoology. Stephen Armstrong, Wired, 2 Dec. 2021 Many of Tinbergen’s students ended up working for the NHU helping create a new kind of wildlife television—ethology in action. Stephen Armstrong, Wired, 2 Dec. 2021 Konrad Lorenz, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist from Austria, formalized the study of animal behavior, or ethology, in the middle of the twentieth century. Ben Crair, The New Yorker, 21 Sep. 2021 In contrast to behaviorism, which asserts that animal behavior can be explained in terms of incentives, rewards, and punishments, ethology posits that animals are innately intelligent, rather than simply programmable. Lauren Markham, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 De Waal is a specialist in ethology, the biological study of animal behavior, a field that emerged in the 1930s. Lauren Markham, Harper's Magazine, 16 Mar. 2021 Ethograms, a kind of specialized inventory, are traditionally intended for observing nonhuman primate groups in the field of ethology, the study of an evolution of a species. Orly Nadell Farber, STAT, 2 July 2018 Below are links to three groups that are involved with the environment, research, or both: • IPBio – Biodiversity Research Institute focuses on the biodiversity, ecology, and ethology of the fauna and flora in Brazilian ecosystems. Tibor Krausz, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Apr. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ethology

1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ethology

Greek ethos + English -logy

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The first known use of ethology was in 1843

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Cite this Entry

“Ethology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ethology


ethol·​o·​gy | \ ē-ˈthäl-ə-jē How to pronounce ethology (audio) \
plural ethologies

Medical Definition of ethology

: the scientific and objective study of animal behavior especially under natural conditions

Other Words from ethology

ethological \ ˌē-​thə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce ethology (audio) , ˌeth-​ə-​ How to pronounce ethology (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on ethology

Britannica English: Translation of ethology for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ethology


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