[ an-thruh-pol-uh-jee ]
See synonyms for: anthropologyanthropologicallyanthropological on

  1. the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.

  2. the study of human beings' similarity to and divergence from other animals.

  1. the science of humans and their works.

  2. Also called phil·o·soph·i·cal an·thro·pol·o·gy [fil-uh-sof-i-kuhl an-thruh-pol-uh-jee] /ˌfɪl əˈsɒf ɪ kəl ˌæn θrəˈpɒl ə dʒi/ . the study of the nature and essence of humankind.

Origin of anthropology

First recorded in 1585–95; anthropo- + -logy

Other words from anthropology

  • an·thro·po·log·i·cal [an-thruh-puh-loj-i-kuhl], /ˌæn θrə pəˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, an·thro·po·log·ic, adjective
  • an·thro·po·log·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • pseu·do·an·thro·po·log·i·cal, adjective
  • sem·i·an·thro·po·log·ic, adjective
  • sem·i·an·thro·po·log·i·cal, adjective
  • sem·i·an·thro·po·log·i·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use anthropology in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for anthropology


/ (ˌænθrəˈpɒlədʒɪ) /

  1. the study of humans, their origins, physical characteristics, institutions, religious beliefs, social relationships, etc: See also cultural anthropology, ethnology, physical anthropology, social anthropology

Derived forms of anthropology

  • anthropological (ˌænθrəpəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjective
  • anthropologically, adverb
  • anthropologist, 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

Scientific definitions for anthropology


[ ăn′thrə-pŏlə-jē ]

  1. The scientific study of humans, especially of their origin, their behavior, and their physical, social, and cultural development.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for anthropology


The scientific study of the origin, development, and varieties of human beings and their societies, particularly so-called primitive societies.

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