phi·​lol·​o·​gy | \ fə-ˈlä-lə-jē also fī- How to pronounce philology (audio) \

Definition of philology

1 : the study of literature and of disciplines relevant to literature or to language as used in literature
2a : linguistics especially : historical and comparative linguistics
b : the study of human speech especially as the vehicle of literature and as a field of study that sheds light on cultural history

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Other Words from philology

philological \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce philological (audio) \ adjective
philologically \ ˌfi-​lə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce philologically (audio) \ adverb
philologist \ fə-​ˈlä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce philologist (audio) also  fī-​ \ noun

Examples of philology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Oxford’s humanities programs, which have long been scattered across the school, include English, history, linguistics, philology and phonetics, medieval and modern languages, music, philosophy, theology and religion. Douglas Belkin, WSJ, "Blackstone’s Schwarzman Gives Oxford Record Gift of $188 Million," 18 June 2019 Ramm channelled the chaos into a spectacular personal mythology, drawn from philology, astrophysics, and medieval history. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "The Spectacular Personal Mythology of Rammellzee," 21 May 2018 But 19-year-old philology major Maria (who only gave me her first name) was still worried about the Telegram blockage. Trudy Rubin,, "Generation Putin: Young Russians, who have never known life without him, imagine their future | Trudy Rubin," 3 May 2018 Since the Reformations of the sixteenth century, religious conflicts had been settled not only by the sword, but with the potent weapon of philology, the linguistic science that produced accurate versions and translations of holy and ancient texts. Jacob Soll, The New Republic, "How Islam Shaped the Enlightenment," 12 Apr. 2018 This is not philology, this is creative wishful thinking. Smithsonian, "How (and Where) Did Hannibal Cross the Alps?," 29 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'philology.' 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 philology

1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for philology

French philologie, from Latin philologia love of learning and literature, from Greek, from philologos fond of learning and literature, from phil- + logos word, speech — more at legend

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Statistics for philology

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for philology

The first known use of philology was in 1522

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More Definitions for philology



English Language Learners Definition of philology

somewhat old-fashioned + technical : the study of language especially : the study of how languages or words develop

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Comments on philology

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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