pa·​thol·​o·​gy | \ pə-ˈthä-lə-jē How to pronounce pathology (audio) \
plural pathologies

Definition of pathology

1 : the study of the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them studied plant pathology
2 : something abnormal:
a : the structural and functional deviations from the normal that constitute disease or characterize a particular disease the pathology of pneumonia
b : deviation from propriety or from an assumed normal state of something nonliving or nonmaterial the pathology of wine
c : deviation giving rise to social ills connections between these pathologies … and crime— Wendy Kaminer social pathology

Examples of pathology in a Sentence

the pathology of lung diseases
Recent Examples on the Web About a quarter of the kids who rode Nick’s bus are dead from drugs, alcohol, suicide, reckless accidents or similar pathologies. Time, "There Are Far Too Many 'Deaths of Despair' in the U.S. How Much Longer Will We Turn Our Backs on This Crisis?," 16 Jan. 2020 The goal, as one former GM told me, is to conduct a pathology on the player’s entire career to find where the original evaluation might have gone wrong. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's TML: Jury's still out on Ohio State football's Chase Young as we get more answers," 12 Nov. 2019 Nearly 50 years ago, Warren received a degree in speech pathology from the University of Houston and later spent five years teaching at the University of Houston Law Center. Gilbert Garcia,, "Team Warren stakes its claim on Texas," 19 Oct. 2019 His son Austin is a medical student and is working toward his doctorate in forensic pathology and forensic anthropology. Chuck Yarborough, cleveland, "North Olmsted’s Tony Gardner gives life to the living dead in ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ with makeup and effects," 17 Oct. 2019 Jean Smart is a playful presence as Laurie, a smirky mask-hating bull in everybody else’s my-costume-is-my-pathology china shop. Darren Franich,, "Watchmen is a high-energy American saga of racial terrorism and masked identity. It ain't boring.," 15 Oct. 2019 Rod studied chemical engineering at Purdue University and received his Medical Degree from Tulane University School of Medicine specializing in pathology., "Deaths in Central Florida: 9/26," 26 Sep. 2019 Ann received a degree in speech pathology from Northwestern University and a master's degree in counseling from St. Joseph's College (now University of St. Joseph)., "Ann K. Lebed," 18 Aug. 2019 In short, political favoritism is an economic disease that summons a host of additional economic, political and social pathologies. Michael Farren And Matthew Mitchell, Twin Cities, "Farren, Mitchell: Two years later, highly-touted Foxconn subsidies look more dubious than ever," 3 Dec. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of pathology

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pathology

borrowed from Middle French & New Latin; Middle French pathologie, borrowed from New Latin pathologia "study of the emotions, study of diseases," from patho- patho- + -logia -logy

Note: Probably formed on the basis of New Latin pathologicus (see pathological). In the sense "study of the emotions," perhaps directly from Greek pathología "study of the passions," attested in Greek-Latin glossaries.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pathology

Time Traveler for pathology

Time Traveler

The first known use of pathology was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Statistics for pathology

Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pathology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pathology


How to pronounce pathology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pathology

: the study of diseases and of the changes that they cause
: changes in a person, an animal, or a plant that are caused by disease


pa·​thol·​o·​gy | \ -jē How to pronounce pathology (audio) \
plural pathologies

Medical Definition of pathology

1 : the study of the essential nature of diseases and especially of the structural and functional changes produced by them
2 : the anatomic and physiological deviations from the normal that constitute disease or characterize a particular disease
3 : a treatise on or compilation of abnormalities a new pathology of the eye

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pathology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pathology

Spanish Central: Translation of pathology

Nglish: Translation of pathology for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on pathology

What made you want to look up pathology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!