so·​ci·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌsō-sē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce sociology (audio) , 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-​ How to pronounce sociologist (audio) \ noun

Examples of sociology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Norman received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Washington in 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Seattle man charged in Lake City shootings says he was drunk, doesn’t recall rampage, police say," 31 Mar. 2019 Today the sociology major at Harvard University is the first-ever Youth Poet Laureate of the U.S. and has read her work at the Library of Congress and on MTV. Khaliha Hawkins, Glamour, "America's First Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on the Power of Young Women," 4 June 2018 Officers are deployed as enforcers of the state, without being taught psychology, anthropology, sociology, community dynamics, local history, or criminology. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "The Spy Who Came Home," 30 Apr. 2018 And Emma Goehle, a Seattle Pacific sophomore studying global development and sociology, spent hours meeting with people in the tent city and conducting interviews for a university research project on homelessness. Kirk Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, "A homeless camp in our back yard? Please, a Seattle university says," 27 Feb. 2018 Some of the dating lessons have slotted into stodgy sociology courses. Mary Ryu, WSJ, "Failing at Love? Maybe It’s Time for Classes," 15 Feb. 2019 This is the pitch that Barack Obama used — not the transformation of America into a Nordic social democracy or the transformation of America into a sociology classroom, but some basic efforts to get the government on the side of middle-class people. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Joe Biden is leading the 2020 polls. Here’s what he thinks about policy.," 18 Dec. 2018 And, on Saturday morning on the St. Joe’s campus, Jameer Nelson, a senior in 2004, will graduate as a member of the Class of 2018 with a sociology degree in hand. Dick Jerardi,, "Jameer Nelson reflects on journey to St. Joe's graduation: 'It just takes a little bit of courage' | Dick Jerardi," 15 May 2018 Abigail Saguy, a professor of sociology and gender at UCLA, said reports of women harassing men have been rare in part because the power dynamic, often a driver of harassing behavior, favors men in the workplace. Melanie Mason,, "Sexual misconduct accusations against California assemblywoman twist gender dynamics of #MeToo movement," 10 Feb. 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

14 Apr 2019

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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 How to pronounce sociology (audio) , ˌsō-shē- How to pronounce sociology (audio) \
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

Comments on sociology

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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