Definition of ethology in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /iːˈθɒlədʒi/


[mass noun]
1The science of animal behaviour.
Example sentences
  • In the mid-twentieth century, better methods and better models of natural selection drove the field of animal behavior back to ethology.
  • First, the growing field of cognitive ethology - which examines animal behaviour in the context of evolutionary biology - tends to support the attribution of beliefs, desires, and intentional actions to many animals.
  • Other lemurs in the forest respond in similar ways to the fat-tail, according to Peter Kappeler, head of ethology and ecology at the center.
1.1The study of human behaviour and social organization from a biological perspective.
Example sentences
  • He has studied laughter and human ethology.
  • In a sense, ethology and Jungian psychology can be viewed as two sides of the same coin.
  • This is an interesting finding and it will be a while till we see how it translates from ethology to human sexual psychology.



Pronunciation: /iːθəˈlɒdʒɪk(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Steve Sailer says ethological researchers have confirmed that people are more charitable to their own ethnic group.
  • In the ethological view, dreams perform the task of integrating the daily experience of an animal with the programme for life laid down in the genome (the total genetic constitution) of the species.
  • While bringing insights from other disciplines to ethology and ornithology, John also used ethological concepts to approach problems in other fields.


Pronunciation: /iːθˈɒlədʒɪst/
Example sentences
  • Amongst other animals, and specifically amongst vertebrates, ethologists classify violent behavior (aggressive posturing, attacking, hurting, killing) into two types: predatory and territorial.
  • Recently, ethologists have applied the study of animal behavior to an increasing number of problems relating to conserving rare, declining, and threatened animal species.
  • Because of the broad range of his interests, John was always alert to the ways in which concepts and data from other fields might be useful to ornithologists and ethologists.


Late 19th century: via Latin from Greek ēthologia, from ēthos (see ethos).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: eth¦ol|ogy

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.