so·​ci·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌsō-sē-ˈä-lə-jē, ˌsō-shē-\

Definition of sociology 

1 : the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships specifically : the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings

2 : the scientific analysis of a social institution as a functioning whole and as it relates to the rest of society

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Other Words from sociology

sociologist \ˌsō-​sē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist ˌsō-​shē-​ \ noun

Examples of sociology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Diane Sicotte, a sociology professor at Drexel University who focuses on environmental justice, wrote From Workshop to Waste Magnet: Environmental Inequality in the Philadelphia Region. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Booming postindustrial neighborhoods often overlook polluted past," 9 Oct. 2018 Another friend, Kelsea, a PhD student in sociology, suffers from a similar perspective on internet addiction from inside of a relationship. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 There’s a link between intense school-year employment — 20 or more hours a week — and the risk of dropping out, said Jeremy Staff, a professor of sociology and criminology at Penn State University. Ann Carrns, New York Times, "The Virtues of a Summer Job," 13 July 2018 The new paper updates a study on migrating millionaires that Varner and Stanford sociology Professor Cristobal Young published in 2012. Kathleen Pender,, "Dozens of millionaires fled California after 2012 tax increase, study says," 6 July 2018 Police plan to partner with the National Training Institute on Race and Equity, a group that uses experts in psychology and sociology to work with police officers, educators, and health care workers. Jason Pohl, azcentral, "Phoenix police to undergo up to $450K implicit bias and cultural competency training," 5 July 2018 Jennifer Ailshire, an assistant professor of gerontology and sociology at USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, noted that happiness is often tied to an individual’s personality characteristics. Judith Graham, Washington Post, "Research shows that the prevalence of dementia has fallen in the United States," 16 June 2018 The school’s department of sociology chair declined to comment and the university did not immediately respond to request for comment. Caleb Parke, Fox News, "California university’s website says its OK for children to engage in 'sexual play,' watch porn," 13 June 2018 Jeff Kraus, who holds a sociology degree from IU Bloomington, owns the Crêpe Bar restaurant in Tempe, Ariz. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "IU graduate will be featured on Tuesday's episode of 'Chopped'," 11 June 2018

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

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sociology

French sociologie, from socio- + -logie -logy

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Statistics for sociology

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for sociology

The first known use of sociology was in 1842

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English Language Learners Definition of sociology

: the study of society, social institutions, and social relationships


so·​ci·​ol·​o·​gy | \ˌsō-sē-ˈäl-ə-jē, ˌsō-shē- \
plural sociologies

Medical Definition of sociology 

: the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships specifically : the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings

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More from Merriam-Webster on sociology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sociology

Spanish Central: Translation of sociology

Nglish: Translation of sociology for Spanish Speakers

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

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a nest or breeding place

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