Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

Specific areas of study

acoustics

noun

the study of sound

aesthetics

noun

the study of the nature of beauty, especially in arts such as painting and architecture

agriculture

noun

the work, business, or study of farming

agronomy

noun

the study of crops and the types of soil they grow in

ancient history

noun

the study of the people and way of life that existed a very long time ago, especially in Greece or Rome

anthropology

noun

the study of human societies, customs, and beliefs. Someone who studies anthropology is called an anthropologist.

applied linguistics

noun

the study of language for its practical uses, for example in teaching or speech therapy

archaeology

noun

the study of ancient societies, done by looking at tools, bones, buildings, and other things from that time that have been found

archeology

another spelling of archaeology

architecture

noun

the study or practice of designing buildings

art

noun

painting, drawing, and sculpture as subjects you study

business administration

noun

a course of study at a university or college that teaches the basic principles of business

business studies

noun

the study of how businesses work, especially the financial and management aspects

campanology

noun

the skill or study of ringing bells

classics

noun

the study of the languages, literature, and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome

cosmology

noun

the study of the origin and nature of the universe

culturomics

noun

an area of study which looks at how frequently a word is used over a period of time and relates this to changes in culture

demography

noun

the study of populations

design

noun

the study of how to make things, especially how to give them a particular shape or appearance

divinity

noun

the study of religions and religious belief

drama

noun

the study of plays

economics

noun

the study of the way that goods and services are produced and sold and the way money is managed

Egyptology

noun

the study of ancient Egypt and its culture, history, and language, as shown by the buildings and objects that still exist. A student of Egyptology is called an Egyptologist.

English

noun

this language and its literature as a subject that you study

epistemology

noun

the study of knowledge

ergonomics

noun

the study of the way that furniture, equipment etc can be designed so that it is easy and comfortable to use and produces the most benefits and the best working or living conditions for the user

eschatology

noun

an area of theology relating to what will happen at the end of the world

ethic

noun

the study of the principles of right and wrong

ethnography

noun

the study and description of different human societies

ethnology

noun

the study of the ways in which different societies and cultures have developed

etymology

noun

the study of the origins and development of words

futurology

noun

the study of the future, including how people will live, work, and communicate. Someone who studies the future in this way is called a futurologist.

genealogy

noun

the study of the history of families using historical documents to discover the relationships between people

geoeconomics

noun

the study of how the economies of the world’s nations affect each other

geography

noun

the study of the Earth’s physical features and the people, plants, and animals that live in different regions of the world

geopolitics

noun

the study of how a country’s position, economy, and population influence its politics, especially in relation to other countries

harmony

noun

the study of the structure of musical chords and of the relationships between them

history

noun

the study of the events of the past

human geography

noun

the study of how human societies developed all over the world, especially in relation to the earth’s physical features

ICT

noun

information and communication technology: a school subject that deals with computers, electronics, and telecommunications

industrial archaeology

noun

the study of the buildings and equipment that industries used in the past

jurisprudence

noun

the study of law

law

noun

the area of knowledge or study dealing with systems of rules and the way that they work

lexicology

noun

the study of the form and meaning of words

linguistics

noun

the study of language and how it works

logic

noun

the academic study of the way that ideas can be connected and used to explain things or give reasons

macroeconomics

noun

the study of the economic systems of whole countries or large regions

media studies

noun

the study of newspapers, television, advertising etc and their influence on society as an educational subject: can be followed by a singular or plural verb

metaphysics

noun

the part of philosophy that involves the study of ideas about life, existence, and other things that are not part of the physical world

microeconomics

noun

the study of particular aspects of an economy

mineralogy

noun

the study of minerals. Someone who studies minerals is called a mineralogist.

modern languages

noun

languages that are still spoken today, especially considered as a subject of study at school or university

morphology

noun

the study of the form and structure of living things

morphology

noun

the study of how words are formed in a language

musicology

noun

the academic study of music and its history

natural history

noun

the study of living things and their natural environments

nature study

noun

the study of plants and animals, especially by children

numerology

noun

the study of numbers such as birth dates and how some people believe that they affect our lives

palaeontology

noun

the study of the history of the Earth using fossils (=ancient plants, bones, shells etc preserved in rocks)

paleontology

the American spelling of palaeontology

parapsychology

noun

the study of unusual mental abilities that cannot be explained by traditional science

philosophy

noun

the study of theories about the meaning of things such as life, knowledge, and beliefs

phonemics

noun

the study of the phonemes of a language

phonetics

noun

the study of the sounds used in speech

phonology

noun

the study of the pattern of speech sounds used in a particular language

phrenology

noun

the study of the shape of someone’s head, believed in the past to be a way of finding out about their character

political geography

noun

the study of the way the world is divided up into countries rather than the way it is marked by natural things such as rivers, mountains etc

political science

noun

the study of politics and the way that political power is used in a country

politics

noun

the study of how people gain and use political power

pragmatics

noun

the study of how language is used in particular situations to express a meaning or attitude that may not be obvious from the actual words

prehistory

noun

the period of time before written history, or the study of this period

psephology

noun

the study of election results and the patterns of how people vote

psychology

noun

the study of the mind and how it affects behaviour

scripture

noun

the study of the Bible

semantics

noun

the study of words and their meanings

semiotics

noun

the study of the way in which people communicate through signs and symbols. Someone who studies this is called a semiotician.

social science

noun

the study of the way that people live in society

social studies

noun

a school or college subject that includes the study of history, government, and world cultures

sociolinguistics

noun

the study of language and how it is influenced by such things as class and regional differences and whether it is being used by a man or a woman

sociology

noun

the scientific study of society, the way that it is organized, and the way that people behave in relation to each other

stylistics

noun

the study of style, especially in language and literature

theology

noun

the study of God and religion

topography

noun

the study of the features of land, for example hills, rivers, and roads, and the process of making maps

women’s studies

noun

the study of the position and treatment of women in society

hostile architecture

the design of buildings or public spaces in a way which discourages people from touching, climbing or sitting on them …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

boots on the ground

a situation in which a country's armed forces are physically present in an area of conflict …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog