phi·​lol·​o·​gy fə-ˈlä-lə-jē How to pronounce philology (audio)
 also  fī-
: the study of literature and of disciplines relevant to literature or to language as used in literature
: linguistics
especially : historical and comparative linguistics
: the study of human speech especially as the vehicle of literature and as a field of study that sheds light on cultural history
philological adjective
philologically adverb
fə-ˈlä-lə-jist How to pronounce philology (audio)
 also  fī-

Examples of philology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kane’s compelling intellectual history of West Africa places Timbuktu within a much broader tradition of Islamic learning in the region, which was home to other medieval knowledge centers and which continues to advance the study of Arabic philology even today. Foreign Affairs, 8 Dec. 2016 The science of philology—how words can alter the meaning and motives of history—cried out for exposure of the unknown. Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 She is also trained in philology and psychology. Michela Moscufo, ABC News, 21 Aug. 2022 Her father, Robert Glynn Faithfull, a British intelligence officer during World War II, was also a philology lecturer and back-to-nature bohemian who settled the family at Braziers Park, a Jacobin manor in rural Oxfordshire, when Marianne was still a toddler. Erik Morse, Vogue, 19 Apr. 2021 Where belles lettres pursued the cultivation of taste and aesthetic sensibility, philology aimed at the accumulation of knowledge. Evan Kindley, The New York Review of Books, 16 Feb. 2023 Halyna graduated from Kharkiv National University with a degree in philology, Ukrainian language and literature. Sarah A. Topol, New York Times, 15 Nov. 2022 Studying philology or literature in the Soviet Union wasn’t appealing at all. Jordana Cepelewicz, Quanta Magazine, 1 Nov. 2022 Both brothers attended Saint Petersburg State University, where their father was a professor of philology, an academic discipline that encompasses the study of language and literature. Darren Loucaides, Wired, 8 Feb. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'philology.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French philologie, from Latin philologia love of learning and literature, from Greek, from philologos fond of learning and literature, from phil- + logos word, speech — more at legend

First Known Use

1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of philology was in 1522

Dictionary Entries Near philology

Cite this Entry

“Philology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


phi·​lol·​o·​gy fə-ˈläl-ə-jē How to pronounce philology (audio)
: the study of language and especially of historical development in languages
philological adjective
philologist noun

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