The definition of anthropology is the study of various elements of humans, including biology and culture, in order to understand human origin and the evolution of various beliefs and social customs.
An example of someone who studies anthropology is Ruth Benedict.
the study of humans, esp. of the variety, physical and cultural characteristics, distribution, customs, social relationships, etc. of humanity
Origin of anthropologyanthropo- + -logy
- The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans.
- That part of Christian theology concerning the genesis, nature, and future of humans, especially as contrasted with the nature of God: “changing the church's anthropology to include more positive images of women” (Priscilla Hart).
- an′thro·po·log′i·cal , an′thro·po·log′ic
cultural anthropology a specialty that studies the creative achievements of societies, especially those passed on through later generations. Also called culturology. dendranthropology the theory and work based on the theory that trees were involved in the origin of man. —dendranthropologic, dendranthropological, adj. ethnocentricity ethnocentrism. —ethnocentric, adj. ethnocentrism the belief in the superiority of one’s own group or culture. Also ethnocentricity. —ethnocentric, adj. ethnodicy Rare. the branch of ethnology that studies comparative legal systems. ethnogeny the study of the origin of distinctive groups or tribes. —ethnogenist, n. —ethnogenic, adj. ethnography the branch of anthropology that studies and describes the individual cultures of mankind. —ethnographer, n. —ethnographic, ethnographical, adj. ethnology the study, often comparative, of the origins and development of the races of mankind. —ethnologist, n. —ethnologic, ethnological, adj. ethography the description of moral and ethical systems. —ethnographer, n. —ethnographic, ethnographical, adj. hybridism, hybridity the blending of diverse cultures or traditions. isthmian a person who is a native or inhabitant of an isthmus. —isthmian, adj. lacustrian a lake-dweller. Leiotrichi people with smooth hair; a division of mankind characterized by people with such hair. Cf. Ulotrichi. —Leiotrichan, adj. matrilocality the state or custom of residing with the family or tribe of the wife, as in certain primitive societies. Cf. patrilocality. —matrilocal, adj. patrilocality the state or custom of residing with the family or tribe of the husband, as in certain primitive societies. Cf. matrilocality. —patrilocal, adj. phratry 1. a subdivision of an ancient Greek tribe or phyle. 2. a clan or other unit of a primitive tribe. physical anthropology the branch of anthropology that studies, describes, and interprets the evolutionary changes in man’s bodily structure and the classification of modern races. Cf. cultural anthropology. Also called somatology social anthropology the branch of anthropology that studies human societies, emphasizing interpersonal and intergroup relations. somatology physical anthropology. synecdochism the belief that a part of a person or object can act in place of the whole and thus that anything done to the part will equally affect the whole. Ulotrichi people with woolly, tightly curled, or crisp hair; a division of mankind characterized by people with such hair. —Ulotrichous, adj.
- 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.
From anthropo-, from Ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος (anthropos, “man, mankind, human, humanity”) + -logy.