Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[soh-see-oh-bahy-ol-uh-jee, soh-shee-] /ˌsoʊ si oʊ baɪˈɒl ə dʒi, ˌsoʊ ʃi-/
the study of social behavior in animals with emphasis on the role of behavior in survival and reproduction, engaging branches of ethology, population genetics, and ecology.
Origin of sociobiology
First recorded in 1945-50; socio- + biology
Related forms
[soh-see-oh-bahy-uh-loj-i-kuh l, soh-shee-] /ˌsoʊ si oʊˌbaɪ əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl, ˌsoʊ ʃi-/ (Show IPA),
sociobiologically, adverb
sociobiologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for sociobiology


the study of social behaviour in animals and humans, esp in relation to its survival value and evolutionary origins
Derived Forms
sociobiologist, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for sociobiology

"study of the biological basis of social behavior," 1946, from socio- + biology. Related: Sociobiological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
sociobiology in Science
The scientific study of the biological basis of the social behavior of animals, based on the theory that such behavior is often genetically determined and that the genes governing this behavior are subject to the usual mechanisms of evolution. Sociobiology posits that an animal will normally behave in ways that will increase the survival of its genes in the gene pool, either by increasing its own reproductive success or the reproductive success of an individual or group that is closely related and thus shares some of the organism's genes. Sociobiologists seek to find explanations for animal behaviors such as aggression and altruism in relation to the survival of the animal's genes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
sociobiology in Culture
sociobiology [(soh-see-oh-beye-ol-uh-jee)]

An area of inquiry in biology, still somewhat controversial but gaining wider acceptance. Its central tenet is that many human behavioral and social traits are genetically inherited and are thus determined by genetic makeup and not culture.

Note: Sociobiology is on the “nature” side in the nature-nurture controversy.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for sociobiology

Difficulty index for sociobiology

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for sociobiology

Scrabble Words With Friends