phrenology

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n phrenology a now abandoned study of the shape of skull as indicative of the strengths of different faculties
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Phrenology In popular usage, the physiological hypothesis of Gall, that the mental faculties, and traits of character, are shown on the surface of the head or skull; craniology.
    • Phrenology The science of the special functions of the several parts of the brain, or of the supposed connection between the various faculties of the mind and particular organs in the brain.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n phrenology The theory that the mental powers of the individual consist of independent faculties, each of which has its seat in a definite brain-region, whose size is commensurate with the power of manifesting this particular faculty. This theory, which originated at the close of the eighteenth century, assumes, moreover, as an essential part, the plasticity of the cranial envelop, by which the skull conforms externally, in the nor mal subject, to the shape and configuration of the brain within, so that its form and faculties may be determined, with sufficient exactness, from the skull itself, whether in the skeleton or in the living person. The different powers of the mind or faculties are divided into two classes, the feelings and the intellect, or the affective and intellectual faculties, the former of which is again divided into the propensities and sentiments, the latter into the perceptive and reflective faculties. Each of these groups, as well as each of the individual faculties composing them, is located upon the exterior of the skull with more or less exactness, and it is by the prominence or depression of the different regions that the mental powers and faculties are ascertained. The system was founded by Dr. Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1828), a Viennese physician, and was extended and promulgated by his pupil and associate, Dr. Spurzheim, and by George and Andrew Combe and others. The term is sometimes applied, in the phrase new phrenology, to the localization of cerebral functions which has been established by experimental and pathological investigations, almost exclusively of the last twenty years, and which has reached such a degree of certainty and definiteness as to furnish a basis for surgical operations on the, brain. But there is nothing in common between modern cerebral localization and the views of Gall and Spurzheim. See cut in next column.
    • n phrenology Comparative psychology; the study of the mind, intellect, or intelligence of man and the lower animals.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Phrenology frē-nol′ō-ji the theory that the various faculties and powers of the mind are connected with certain parts of the brain, and can be known by an examination of the outer surface of the skull: the science by which character can be read by examining the skull
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gr. , , the mind + -logy,: cf. F. phrénologie,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Gr. phrēn, phrenos, mind, logos, science.

Usage

In literature:

I believe as little in phrenology as in palm-reading.
"Certain Success" by Norval A. Hawkins
A science which is similar to Phrenology plays an important part in all the social customs of this sphere.
"Life in a Thousand Worlds" by William Shuler Harris
PUBLIC AFFAIRS ON PHRENOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, August 14, 1841" by Various
Talked very much about the fine phrenological development of Sir Robert Peel's skull.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 1, October 9, 1841" by Various
During my stay in Edinburgh, I accepted an invitation to breakfast with the great champion of Philosophical Phrenology.
"Three Years in Europe" by William Wells Brown
You don't believe in Phrenology, eh?
"The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, No. 74, December, 1863" by Various
Gall, his philosophy of phrenology, 151.
"Records of a Girlhood" by Frances Ann Kemble
We are almost ashamed to say, that it is Phrenology!
"August Comte and Positivism" by John-Stuart Mill
We had previously examined the head of one of them phrenologically.
"Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 1" by James Richardson
Very little has been done towards an exact science of human phrenology.
"Marvels of Pond-life" by Henry J. Slack
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In poetry:

"Sit down, and I'll explain
My system of Phrenology,
A second, please, remain" -
(A second is horology).
"Phrenology" by William Schwenck Gilbert
That Pleeceman's scorn grew large
(Phrenology had nettled it),
He took that Bart. in charge -
I don't know how they settled it.
"Phrenology" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

In the 1930?s, make-up legend Max Factor came up with an ingenious invention combining phrenology, cosmetics and a withering pseudo-scientific analysis of a woman's physical flaws.
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