Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[fi-lol-uh-jee] /fɪˈlɒl ə dʒi/
the study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.
(especially in older use) linguistics, especially historical and comparative linguistics.
Obsolete. the love of learning and literature.
Origin of philology
1350-1400; Middle English philologie < Latin philologia < Greek philología love of learning and literature, equivalent to philólog(os) literary, studious, argumentative + -ia -y3. See philo-, -logy
Related forms
[fil-uh-loj-i-kuh l] /ˌfɪl əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
philologic, adjective
philologically, adverb
philologist, philologer, noun
nonphilologic, adjective
nonphilological, adjective
unphilologic, adjective
unphilological, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for philologist
Historical Examples
  • Writing to Holthoff and old Bœckh the philologist for introductions to your father.

  • Here Wolf, a philologist with historical instinct, was a pioneer.

  • And why should not a philologist be able to answer questions acutely?

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • Even if illegitimacy were the only reason, that would not concern the philologist.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley
  • Sometimes a philologist had a pet theory which the facts were made to fit.

  • The names signify respectively “philologist” and “the Gypsy Gentleman”.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • My world is wholly formed of words—so much of a philologist I have become!

  • A philosopher and philologist, born in Hildesheim, studied in Gottingen and Kiel.

    Immortal Memories Clement Shorter
  • A great but careless linguist, Borrow was assuredly no philologist.

    The Romany Rye George Borrow
  • He is a scholar, a philologist; he manages everything in the chteau.

British Dictionary definitions for philologist


comparative and historical linguistics
the scientific analysis of written records and literary texts
(no longer in scholarly use) the study of literature in general
Derived Forms
philological (ˌfɪləˈlɒdʒɪkəl) adjective
philologically, adverb
philologist, (rare) philologer, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin philologia, from Greek: love of language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for philologist

1640s, "literary person;" 1716, "student of language," from philology + -ist.



late 14c., "love of learning," from Latin philologia "love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture," from Greek philologia "love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + logos "word, speech" (see logos).

Meaning "science of language" is first attested 1716 (philologue "linguist" is from 1590s; philologer "linguistic scholar" is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for philologist

Word Value for philologist

Scrabble Words With Friends