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 This single cultural collision has been the subject of an extended debate in anthropology, fostering a decades-long division between two schools. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 6 Dec. 2021 According to her website, Brady graduated from the University of California San Diego with a B.A. in the anthropology of climate change and human solutions in 2021. Natasha Dado, PEOPLE.com, 6 Dec. 2021 Hadi, an anthropology graduate, also described violence at the border. NBC News, 18 Nov. 2021 The idea was to invert anthropology’s othering gaze through a focus on the local and the banal. Lili Owen Rowlands, The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2021 Others, however, were not so sure about the way Banks was running his anthropology experiment. Hampton Sides, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Sep. 2021 Cardoso’s understanding of cultural nuance and her desire to elevate marginalized groups led her quite naturally from anthropology to filmmaking. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2021 The pivotal step is to validate the true needs of customers through a design anthropology study. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Kuhn, who also works as a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, believes the discovery shows that people used accessories to convey parts of their personality even hundreds of thousands of years ago. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 24 Nov. 2021

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.

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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

3 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anthropology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropology. Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for anthropology

anthropology

noun

English Language Learners Definition of anthropology

: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures

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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