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

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 Harvard is where Bill met his wife, who later got a PhD in classical philology. Joel Stein, Time, "I Am Forming A New Political Party For Smug Elites Like Me," 22 Oct. 2019 How a Lutheran pastor’s son, trained in classical philology, ended up on that precipice of brilliance and madness is the essential drama of Nietzsche’s life. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 Finding folk tales Friedrich Karl von Savigny, a professor at the University of Marburg, sparked Jacob and Wilhelm’s interest in German history and literature and the new field of philology, the study of language in historical texts. National Geographic, "Brothers Grimm fairy tales were never meant for kids," 24 Sep. 2019 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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The first known use of philology was in 1522

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Cite this Entry

“Philology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce philology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of philology

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

More from Merriam-Webster on philology Encyclopedia article about philology

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