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philology

[fi-lol-uh-jee] /fɪˈlɒl ə dʒi/
noun
1.
the study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.
2.
(especially in older use) linguistics, especially historical and comparative linguistics.
3.
Obsolete. the love of learning and literature.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English philologie < Latin philologia < Greek philología love of learning and literature, equivalent to philólog(os) literary, studious, argumentative + -ia -y3. See philo-, -logy
Related forms
philological
[fil-uh-loj-i-kuh l] /ˌfɪl əˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl/ (Show IPA),
philologic, adjective
philologically, adverb
philologist, philologer, noun
nonphilologic, adjective
nonphilological, adjective
unphilologic, adjective
unphilological, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for philologists

philology

/fɪˈlɒlədʒɪ/
noun
1.
comparative and historical linguistics
2.
the scientific analysis of written records and literary texts
3.
(no longer in scholarly use) the study of literature in general
Derived Forms
philological (ˌfɪləˈlɒdʒɪkəl) adjective
philologically, adverb
philologist, (rare) philologer, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin philologia, from Greek: love of language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for philologists
philology
late 14c., "love of learning," from O.Fr. philologie, from L. philologia "love of learning, love of letters," from Gk. philologia "love of discussion, learning, and literature," from philo- "loving" + logos "word, speech." Meaning "science of language" is first attested 1716; this confusing secondary sense has never been popular in the U.S., where linguistics (q.v.) is preferred.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for philologists

philology

a term now rarely used but once applied to the study of language and literature. Nowadays a distinction is usually made between literary and linguistic scholarship, and the term philology, where used, means the study of language-i.e., linguistics (q.v.). It survives in the titles of a few learned journals that date to the 19th century. Comparative philology was a former name for what is now called comparative linguistics (q.v.).

Learn more about philology with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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