(noun) The study of death and dying.

Example: A thanatologist interested in the social aspects of death could research the funeral home industry or rituals.

Audio Pronunciation: (than·a·to·logy)

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Usage Notes:

  • Thanatalogy focuses on numerous aspects of death such as aging, coping mechanisms, grief, and rituals.
  • A (noun) thanatologist studies (adjective) thanatological topics such as (noun) thanatomania (the belief that one is fated to die because of being cursed), (noun) thanatophilia (the fascination of death that a (noun) thanatophile exhibits), or (noun) thanatophobia (the fear of death).

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Works Consulted

Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (

Taylor & Francis. (N.d.) Routledge Handbooks Online. (

Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon..

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (

Wiley. (N.d.) Wiley Online Library. (


How to Cite the Definition of Thanatology

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “thanatology.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved July 18, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

thanatology. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “thanatology.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed July 18, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“thanatology.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 18 Jul. 2019. <>.