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[fi-lol-uh-jee] /fɪˈlɒl ə dʒi/

the study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenticity and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.
(especially in older use) linguistics, especially historical and comparative linguistics.
Obsolete. the love of learning and literature.
comparative and historical linguistics
the scientific analysis of written records and literary texts
(no longer in scholarly use) the study of literature in general

late 14c., “love of learning,” from Latin philologia “love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture,” from Greek philologia “love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness,” from philo- “loving” (see philo-) + logos “word, speech” (see logos).

Meaning “science of language” is first attested 1716 (philologue “linguist” is from 1590s; philologer “linguistic scholar” is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological.


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  • Philomel

    [fil-uh-mel] /ˈfɪl əˌmɛl/ noun, Literary. 1. the nightingale. /ˈfɪləˌmɛl/ noun 1. poetic names for a nightingale n. “nightingale,” late 14c., from Greek Philomela, poetic name of the nightingale, in mythology the daughter of Pandion, transformed into a nightingale; probably literally “lover of song,” from philos “loving” + melos “a tune, song;” but perhaps “lover of […]

  • Philomela

    [fil-uh-mee-luh] /ˌfɪl əˈmi lə/ noun 1. Classical Mythology. an Athenian princess who was raped by her brother-in-law Tereus and was subsequently avenged and transformed into a nightingale. 2. (lowercase) . [fil-uh-mel] /ˈfɪl əˌmɛl/ noun, Literary. 1. the nightingale. /ˌfɪləʊˈmiːlə/ noun 1. (Greek myth) an Athenian princess, who was raped and had her tongue cut out […]

  • Philomelides

    [fil-oh-muh-lahy-deez] /ˌfɪl oʊ məˈlaɪ diz/ noun, Classical Mythology. 1. a king of Lesbos who wrestled and killed every opponent until he himself was defeated by Odysseus.

  • Philopena

    [fil-uh-pee-nuh] /ˌfɪl əˈpi nə/ noun 1. a custom, presumably of German origin, in which two persons share the kernels of a nut and determine that one shall receive a forfeit from the other at a later time upon the saying of a certain word or the performance of a certain action. 2. the thing shared. […]

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