thanatology

noun
than·​a·​tol·​o·​gy | \ˌtha-nə-ˈtä-lə-jē \

Definition of thanatology 

: the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from thanatology

thanatological \ ˌtha-​nə-​tə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl \ adjective
thanatologist \ ˌtha-​nə-​ˈtä-​lə-​jist \ noun

Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the personification of death and the twin brother of Hypnos (Sleep). The ancient Greeks eventually came to use thanatos as a generic word for "death." Thanatology is a direct linguistic heir of the Greek term and was first documented in English in the mid-1800s. As a science, thanatology examines attitudes toward death, the meaning and behaviors of bereavement and grief, and other matters. In 1935, the word thanatos itself made its debut in English, ushered in with psychoanalytic theory to describe an unconscious tendency toward self-destruction.

Examples of thanatology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Another thirty-five years passed before the paper was translated into English and published, in Omega, a journal of thanatology, by Russell Noyes, Jr., a psychiatrist at the University of Iowa. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Black Ice, Near-Death, and Transcendence on I-91," 2 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thanatology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thanatology

circa 1842, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thanatology

Greek thanatos + English -logy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about thanatology

Share thanatology

Listen to Our Podcast about thanatology

Statistics for thanatology

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for thanatology

The first known use of thanatology was circa 1842

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for thanatology

thanatology

noun
than·​a·​tol·​o·​gy | \ˌthan-ə-ˈtäl-ə-jē \
plural thanatologies

Medical Definition of thanatology 

: the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them

Other Words from thanatology

thanatological \ ˌthan-​ət-​ᵊl-​ˈäj-​i-​kəl \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on thanatology

See words that rhyme with thanatology

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about thanatology

Comments on thanatology

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

WORD OF THE DAY

by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!