- the study of death and its surrounding circumstances, as in forensic medicine.
- Psychiatry. the study of the effects of death and dying, especially the investigation of ways to lessen the suffering and address the needs of the terminally ill and their survivors.
Origin of thanatology
- the scientific study of death and the phenomena and practices relating to it
Word Origin and History for thanatology
"scientific study of death," 1842, from Greek thanatos "death" (from PIE *dhwene- "to disappear, die," perhaps from root meaning "dark, cloudy") + -logy. Thanatism (1900) is the belief that at death the soul ceases to exist. Hence also thanatos. In 1970s, some undertakers made a bid to be called thanatologists; but from 1974 that word was used in reference to specialists in the needs of the terminally ill.
- The study of death and dying, especially of their psychological and social aspects.