pa·thol·o·gy | \ pə-ˈthä-lə-jē \
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

As part of the collaboration, Dr. Avrum Spira, a professor of medicine, pathology, and bioinformatics at BU, has joined Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC as global head of its lung cancer initiative and will head the new center. Jonathan Saltzman,, "BU, Johnson & Johnson team up to seek earlier detection of lung cancer," 6 June 2018 The Rain brings this tension out into the open, exposing the inner brutality as a survival mechanism rather than as a hidden pathology. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Rain Is a Taut Dystopian Thriller," 3 May 2018 The Mercury News of San Jose reports Monday that the pathology report from the San Mateo County Coroner's Office showed no evidence of alcohol or drugs in her system. Fox News, "Coroner: YouTube shooter shot herself through the heart," 10 July 2018 As with any addiction, this process produces short-term euphoria, reflected in share prices, but long-term pathology, reflected in income inequality, poverty and social unrest. Michael Hiltzik,, "Employers will do almost anything to find workers to fill jobs — except pay them more," 10 July 2018 This preoccupation with race as part of biology teaches us that race is an integral part of diagnosis and treatment, a characteristic that becomes indelible from pathology. Jennifer W. Tsai, STAT, "You can’t tell a book by its cover — or a disease by Drake’s race," 11 July 2018 If the pathologies of impoverished black communities can be attributed to the cultural (and/or biological) flaws of black people, then the American government owes them little. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "We Owe Central American Migrants Much More Than This," 21 June 2018 Rohn devotes much of his research to understanding the molecular difference between APOE3 and APOE4, and how those differences could affect the pathology of the disease. Mark Rudin, idahostatesman, "At Boise State, Idaho’s only Alzheimer’s researchers labor to grasp a growing disease," 14 June 2018 New research is revealing just how complex and diverse dementia is in terms of symptoms, underlying pathology, and genetics. Stacey Burling,, "Is Alzheimer's disease the next frontier for precision medicine?," 8 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pathology

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pathology

New Latin pathologia & Middle French pathologie, from Greek pathologia study of the emotions, from path- + -logia -logy

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Statistics for pathology

Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for pathology

The first known use of pathology was in 1611

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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 \
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

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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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