Share this entry

thanatology Line breaks: thana|tol¦ogy
Pronunciation: /ˌθanəˈtɒlədʒi/

Definition of thanatology in English:


[mass noun]
The scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families.
Example sentences
  • It's good to come to terms with thanatology as a psychospiritual initiation.
  • Accordingly, the concepts of hospice and palliative care, pioneered in England by Saunders, and of thanatology, pioneered in the U.S. by Kubler-Ross, emerged, signaling the birth of a new movement.
  • These course units are for students of thanatology and also to be used as electives for various other programmes.


Mid 19th century: from Greek thanatos 'death' + -logy.



Example sentences
  • This is a successful encyclopaedia that contains a few subjective choices and at times even a few errors, but is able to answer common questions in an efficient and professional manner in its thanatological articles.
  • I have met a would-be suicide bomber who had not yet had the chance to put his thanatological daydream into practice.
  • The threat of terrorism has consequences in thinking about death and popular thanatological literature.


Example sentences
  • It may seem isolating, but many people are ambivalent about the death of an intimate, says Jean Miller, a thanatologist at the University of Rhode Island.
  • Music thanatologists use the harp because of its universality and rich, soothing tones.
  • The services are provided by a master-level social worker who also is a certified thanatologist.

Definition of thanatology in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day fortissimo
Pronunciation: fɔːˈtɪsɪməʊ
(especially as a direction) very loud or loudly