Definition of thanatology in English:



mass noun
  • The scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families.

    • ‘Accordingly, the concepts of hospice and palliative care, pioneered in England by Saunders, and of thanatology, pioneered in the U.S. by Kubler-Ross, emerged, signaling the birth of a new movement.’
    • ‘Graduate students are encouraged to conduct research studies in thanatology.’
    • ‘It's good to come to terms with thanatology as a psychospiritual initiation.’
    • ‘These course units are for students of thanatology and also to be used as electives for various other programmes.’
    • ‘The National Center for Death Education offers a certificate in the field of thanatology - the study of death and dying, and the grief process.’


Mid 19th century: from Greek thanatos ‘death’ + -logy.