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[ee-thol-uh-jee, ih-thol-] /iˈθɒl ə dʒi, ɪˈθɒl-/
the study of animal behavior with emphasis on the behavioral patterns that occur in natural environments.
Origin of ethology
1895-1900; earlier, as the study of relations between an organism and its environment < French éthologie, coined by French zoologist I. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1805-61); see ethos, -logy
Related forms
[ee-thuh-loj-i-kuh l, eth-uh-] /ˌi θəˈlɒdʒ ɪ kəl, ˌɛθ ə-/ (Show IPA),
ethologically, adverb
ethologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ethology
  • They haven't published any articles in learned journals, and they don't claim to be in the forefront of hippo ethology.
  • Each day, we've been greeted by the super stars of animal behavior and ethology research.
  • What makes all this unconvincing, of course, is the distance between the ethology and the sociology.
  • They could do jelly ethology, which no one had ever done.
  • These are issues which bubble up at the intersection of ethology and evolution.
British Dictionary definitions for ethology


the study of the behaviour of animals in their normal environment
Derived Forms
ethological (ˌɛθəˈlɒdʒɪkəl) adjective
ethologically, adverb
ethologist, noun
Word Origin
C17 (in the obsolete sense: mimicry): via Latin from Greek ēthologia, from ēthos character; current sense, C19
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 ethology

late 17c., "mimicry," from Latin ethologia, from Greek ethologia, from ethos "character" (see ethos). As a branch of zoology, from 1897.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ethology in Science
  (ĭ-thŏl'ə-jē, ē-thŏl'-)   
The scientific study of animal behavior, especially as it occurs in a natural environment.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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