phrenology

[fri-nol-uh-jee, fre-]
noun
a psychological theory or analytical method based on the belief that certain mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of the skull.

Origin:
1795–1805, Americanism; phreno- + -logy

phrenologic [fren-l-oj-ik] , phrenological, adjective
phrenologically, adverb
phrenologist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
phrenology (frɪˈnɒlədʒɪ)
 
n
(formerly) the branch of science concerned with localization of function in the human brain, esp determination of the strength of the faculties by the shape and size of the skull overlying the parts of the brain thought to be responsible for them
 
phrenological
 
adj
 
phre'nologist
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

phrenology
1815, from Gk., lit. "mental science," from phren (gen. phrenos) "mind" + -logy "study of." Applied to the theory of mental faculties originated by Gall and Spurzheim that led to the 1840s mania for reading personality clues in the shape of one's skull and the "bumps" of the head.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

phrenology phre·nol·o·gy (frĭ-nŏl'ə-jē)
n.
The study of the shape and protuberances of the skull, based on the now discredited belief that they reveal character and mental capacity.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
phrenology   (frĭ-nŏl'ə-jē)  Pronunciation Key 
The study of the shape of the skull as a means of determining character and intelligence. Phrenology has been disproven as a science.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Though absurdly unscientific even for its time, phrenology was remarkably prescient-up to a point.
The island itself is vaguely brain-shaped, turning the map into a kind of cartographic phrenology of the self.
There's more than a whiff in those words of their rank etymological origin in the pseudoscience of phrenology.
Because the study of bumps on the ocean surface is a reliable kind of phrenology: it reveals deeper truths about the ocean.
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