pa·​leo·​pa·​thol·​o·​gy ˌpā-lē-ō-pə-ˈthä-lə-jē How to pronounce paleopathology (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-lē-
: a branch of pathology concerned with ancient diseases as evidenced especially in fossil or other remains
paleopathological adjective
paleopathologist noun

Examples of paleopathology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Kanam jaw, discovered in Kenya in 1932 by Louis Leakey, was my portal into the world of paleopathology and, in particular, the obscure sub discipline of paleo-oncology -- the search for the ancient roots of cancer. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 23 June 2013 The plague of Athens: epidemiology and paleopathology. Rebecca Kreston, Discover Magazine, 31 May 2016 Like us, dinosaurs got sick but evidence of disease and infection in the fossil record -- a field known as paleopathology -- has been scant. Katie Hunt, CNN, 13 Feb. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'paleopathology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


paleo- + pathology

First Known Use

1893, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of paleopathology was in 1893

Dictionary Entries Near paleopathology

Cite this Entry

“Paleopathology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Medical Definition


variants or chiefly British palaeopathology
plural paleopathologies
: a branch of pathology concerned with diseases of former times as determined especially from fossil or other remains
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