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[pey-lee-uh n-tol-uh-jee or, esp. British, pal-ee-] /ˌpeɪ li ənˈtɒl ə dʒi or, esp. British, ˌpæl i-/
noun, plural paleontologies for 2.
the science of the forms of life existing in former geologic periods, as represented by their fossils.
a treatise on paleontology.
Origin of paleontology
From the French word paléontologie, dating back to 1830-40. See pale(o)-, ontology
Related forms
[pey-lee-on-tl-oj-ik or, esp. British, pal-ee-] /ˌpeɪ liˌɒn tlˈɒdʒ ɪk or, esp. British, ˌpæl i-/ (Show IPA),
paleontological, adjective
paleontologically, adverb
paleontologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for paleontologist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He then proceeds to theorize, hand in hand with the paleontologist, or student of ancient life.


    Allen Chaffee
  • It is a desert to the agriculturist, a mine to the paleontologist, and a paradise to the artist.

  • The paleontologist now reached up to a geometrical plane and brought down another small fossil.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • The paleontologist removed the confounded monocle from his eye, and wiped the lens with a bit of chamois skin.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
  • My good friend the paleontologist is in greater danger than he realizes, when he leaves descriptions and attempts explanation.

  • Gud picked up a tiny fragment and asked the paleontologist what manner of soul it had been.

    The Book of Gud Dan Spain
Word Origin and History for paleontologist

1836, from paleontology + -ist.



1833, probably from French paléontologie, from Greek palaios "old, ancient" (see paleo-) + ontologie (see ontology). Related: Paleontological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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paleontologist in Science
The scientific study of life in the geologic past, especially through the study of animal and plant fossils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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paleontologist in Culture
paleontology [(pay-lee-uhn-tol-uh-jee)]

The study of ancient life forms, particularly as they are seen in fossils.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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