[ pey-lee-uh n-tol-uh-jee or, esp. British, pal-ee- ]
/ ˌpeɪ li ənˈtɒl ə dʒi or, esp. British, ˌpæl i- /

noun, plural pa·le·on·tol·o·gies for 2.

the science of the forms of life existing in former geologic periods, as represented by their fossils.
a treatise on paleontology.

Nearby words

  1. paleology,
  2. paleomagnetism,
  3. paleon.,
  4. paleontol.,
  5. paleontologist,
  6. paleopathology,
  7. paleopedology,
  8. paleosiberian,
  9. paleosol,
  10. paleostriatum

Origin of paleontology

From the French word paléontologie, dating back to 1830–40. See pale(o)-, ontology

Related formspa·le·on·to·log·ic [pey-lee-on-tl-oj-ik or, esp. British, pal-ee-] /ˌpeɪ liˌɒn tlˈɒdʒ ɪk or, esp. British, ˌpæl i-/, pa·le·on·to·log·i·cal, adjectivepa·le·on·to·log·i·cal·ly, adverbpa·le·on·tol·o·gist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paleontology

Word Origin and History for paleontology



1833, probably from French paléontologie, from Greek palaios "old, ancient" (see paleo-) + ontologie (see ontology). Related: Paleontological.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for paleontology


[ pā′lē-ŏn-tŏlə-jē ]

The scientific study of life in the geologic past, especially through the study of animal and plant fossils.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for paleontology


[ (pay-lee-uhn-tol-uh-jee) ]

The study of ancient life forms, particularly as they are seen in fossils.

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.