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[hur-pi-tol-uh-jee] /ˌhɜr pɪˈtɒl ə dʒi/
the branch of zoology dealing with reptiles and amphibians.
1815-25; < Greek herpetó(n) a creeping thing (Compare hérpein to creep) + -logy; cf. serpent
Related forms
[hur-pi-tl-oj-ik] /ˌhɜr pɪ tlˈɒdʒ ɪk/ (Show IPA),
herpetological, adjective
herpetologically, adverb
herpetologist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for herpetology
  • Making great leaps forward in herpetology: accounting for detectability in field studies.
  • herpetology is the branch of zoology dealing with reptiles and amphibians.
British Dictionary definitions for herpetology


the study of reptiles and amphibians
Derived Forms
herpetologic (ˌhɜːpɪtəˈlɒdʒɪk), herpetological, adjective
herpetologically, adverb
herpetologist, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Greek herpeton creeping animal, from herpein to creep
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 herpetology

"study of reptiles," 1816, from French herpétologie (18c.), coined from Greek herpeton "reptile," literally "creeping thing," from herpein "to creep" (see serpent) + logia (see -logy). Related: Herpetologist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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herpetology in Science
The scientific study of reptiles and amphibians.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for herpetology

scientific study of amphibians and reptiles. Like most other fields of vertebrate biology (e.g., ichthyology, mammalogy), herpetology is composed of a number of cross-disciplines: behaviour, ecology, physiology, anatomy, paleontology, taxonomy, and others. Most students of recent forms are narrow in their interests, working on only one order or suborder (e.g., frogs, salamanders, snakes, lizards). A paleontologist is more likely to work with both amphibians and reptiles or with intermediate forms

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