Definition - The traditional name for the study of language.

1. In the 20th century this term was superseded by linguistics, especially in the United States. Hence, those who were once called philologists are now called linguists.

Etymology -
The word ultimately derives from the Greek philologia, love of literature, discussion, and learning (from philo, loving + logos, word or speech).

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation in the sense "the study of language" is from 1716:
"Harduin has there several erudite Remarks upon Philology: especially upon the Pronunciation and Dialects of the Greek Tongue."
(M. Davies Athen. Brit. III. 102)

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