anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \

Definition of anthropology

1 : the science of human beings especially : the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture
2 : theology dealing with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings

Other Words from anthropology

anthropological \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​pə-​ˈlä-​ji-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adverb
anthropologist \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​ˈpä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ noun

The Origin of Anthropology

The word anthropology dates back to the late 16th century, but it was not until the 19th century that it was applied to the academic discipline that now bears its name. In the United States, this field of study is typically divided into four distinct branches: physical (or biological) anthropology, archaeology, cultural (or social) anthropology, and linguistic anthropology.

Anthropology is from the New Latin word anthropologia (“the study of humanity”) and shares its ultimate root in Greek, anthrōpos (“human being”), with a number of other words in English, such as anthropomorphize, philanthropy, and misanthrope.

Examples of anthropology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But this bit of craft wisdom—conflict is king—is the handmaiden of a paranoid anthropology, and a limited way of thinking about action and speech. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Marx subverted the Greek-Christian anthropology of the human person as a being of reflection, comprehension, and interiority for whom society is one part of the person’s existence. Richard M. Reinsch Ii, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Most of the archaeological ground covered in The Dawn of Everything lies beyond the scope of Appiah’s review, as does nearly all of the anthropology. Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Review of Books, 16 Dec. 2021 Their discussion covers a wide array of topics, including what really matters in the contemporary debate over markets — that is, anthropology, mediating institutions, moral formation, and growth as a moral good. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 4 Feb. 2022 Take anthropology, a discipline that emerged as part and parcel of the Western colonial project. Elena Maris, Wired, 12 Jan. 2022 Faya Dayi is the mesmerizing result, a nonfiction work of sensory immersion that’s part anthropology, part poetry. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 Studies have shown the presence of a grandmother can positively impact a grandchild's life, James Rilling, professor of anthropology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, told USA TODAY. Gabriela Miranda, USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2021 Thiel has a more esoteric intellectual identity, which draws on anthropology, political theory, and theology. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of anthropology

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for anthropology

borrowed from New Latin anthropologia "study of humanity, science of human nature," from anthropo- anthropo- + -logia -logy

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Time Traveler for anthropology

Time Traveler

The first known use of anthropology was in 1593

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Dictionary Entries Near anthropology

anthropolith

anthropology

anthropomancy

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Statistics for anthropology

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for anthropology

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \

Kids Definition of anthropology

: a science that studies people and especially their history, development, distribution and culture

anthropology

noun
an·​thro·​pol·​o·​gy | \ ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpäl-ə-jē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \
plural anthropologies

Medical Definition of anthropology

: the science of humans especially : the study of humans in relation to distribution, origin, classification, and relationship of races, physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture

Other Words from anthropology

anthropological \ -​pə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adjective
anthropologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ adverb
anthropologist \ ˌan(t)-​thrə-​ˈpäl-​ə-​jəst How to pronounce anthropology (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropology

Nglish: Translation of anthropology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about anthropology

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