Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

phrenology

[fri-nol-uh-jee, fre-]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a psychological theory or analytical method based on the belief that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of the skull.
Show More

Origin of phrenology

An Americanism dating back to 1795–1805; phreno- + -logy
Related formsphren·o·log·ic [fren-l-oj-ik] /ˌfrɛn lˈɒdʒ ɪk/, phren·o·log·i·cal, adjectivephren·o·log·i·cal·ly, adverbphre·nol·o·gist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for phrenology

Historical Examples

  • But beyond this, Phrenology has not gone, and probably will never go.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 364, February 1846

    Various

  • Phrenology confirms this; for her amative developments are singularly prominent.

    City Crimes

    Greenhorn

  • Your eldest has the brow of an observer, if there be the least truth in phrenology.

  • I only said that is the way I should practise "Phrenology" for a living.

    The Professor at the Breakfast Table

    Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.)

  • The exponents of Phrenology are themselves to blame for this.

    How to Become Rich

    William Windsor


British Dictionary definitions for phrenology

phrenology

noun
  1. (formerly) the branch of science concerned with localization of function in the human brain, esp determination of the strength of the faculties by the shape and size of the skull overlying the parts of the brain thought to be responsible for them
Show More
Derived Formsphrenological (ˌfrɛnəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjectivephrenologist, noun
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

Word Origin and History for phrenology

n.

1815, literally "mental science," from phreno- + -logy "study of." Applied to the theory of mental faculties originated by Gall and Spurzheim that led to the 1840s mania for reading personality clues in the shape of one's skull and the "bumps" of the head. Related: Phrenological; phrenologist.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

phrenology in Medicine

phrenology

(frĭ-nŏlə-jē)
n.
  1. The study of the shape and protuberances of the skull, based on the now discredited belief that they reveal character and mental capacity.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.