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From New Latin anthropologia, from Ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος (ánthrōpos, human, mankind) + -λογία (-logía). By surface analysis, anthropo- +‎ -logy.



anthropology (uncountable)

  1. The scientific study of humans, systematically describing the ethnographic, linguistic, archaeological, and evolutionary dimensions of humanity using a holistic methodological framework.
    According to anthropology, there are six basic patterns of kinship terminology or kin naming systems.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 47, in The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      As another man has an ardour for art or music, or natural science, Mr. Pen said that anthropology was his favourite pursuit; and had his eyes always eagerly open to its infinite varieties and beauties: contemplating with an unfailing delight all specimens of it in all places to which he resorted []
    • 1863, J. Frederick Collingwood (ed), Introduction to Anthropology (from Theodor Waitz, Anthropologie der Naturvölker, vol I (1959)) pp 8-9:
      Whilst History endeavours to represent the various phases of civilized life to the fullest extent, the interest of Anthropology rests chiefly upon the general features and the greatest differences in the various forms of human life; for as regards the latter science, these diversities form the most important and characteristic part, and we should have but a one-sided conception of man, if our notions of him were only derived from the history of civilization without taking into consieration the resquisite supplement arising from the study of uncivilized nations, and of man in a primative state.
  2. (theology) The study of humanity in its relation to the divine, as in Christian anthropology.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (biological science): Anthropology falls under the rubric of primatology, itself a a sub-discipline of zoology.
  • (social science): Anthropology is distinguished from other social science disciplines by its emphasis on in-depth examination of context, cross-cultural comparisons, and the importance it places on long-term, experiential immersion in the area of research.



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