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Welcome to AnthroDef!

An online resource for definitions of concepts complete with full citations


About this site

AnthroDef is a collaborative project with the purpose of collecting and presenting definitions of anthropological concepts; only definitions which were published in academic literature are featured, along with full citations. AnthroDef is meant for anyone who is interested in anthropology and related disciplines, and is a particularly useful tool for writing papers. Whether you are a researcher, a PhD student, a master's student or a young undergraduate - this site is for you. Browse, copy, share, and take part in creating the web's largest reservoir of anthropological definitions!

Oh, but do have a look at the rules first.

List of featured concepts


Can't find the definition you're looking for? Hey, it happens. But when you do eventually find it elsewhere, come back and share it!


Did you know...

  • ...that in an article published in 1955, George Hillery reviewed 94 different definitions of community?

    Hillery, G. 'Definitions of community: Areas of agreement'. Rural Sociology, 20, (1955) pp.111–123

  • ... that in 1868, John Stuart Mill defined definition as "a proposition declaratory of the meaning of a word; namely, either the meaning which it bears in common acceptation, or that which the speaker or writer ... intends to annex to it.”

    Mill, J.S. , A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive: Being a Connected View of The Principles of Evidence, and the Methods of Scientific Investigation, 7th ed., Longmans, Green, Reader, and Dyer, London. 1868:149

  • ... that according to Wierzbicka, "One cannot define all words, because the very idea of ‘‘defining’’ implies that there is not only something to be defined but also something to define it with."

    Wierzbicka, Anna. Emotions across languages and cultures: Diversity and universals. Cambridge University Press, 1999:7

The rules

There are rules, mind you. Reliability is kind of a key word here.


  1. The quotes have to be 100% accurate. Don't change a single word
    (ellipses [...] are allowed).
  2. Only use quotes from published academic texts. No fiction, no lecture transcriptions, nothing you thought of yourself (unless it's been published as an academic text).
  3. This site is only for definitions. So no matter how awesome a quote is, if it doesn't define a concept, it doesn't belong here.
  4. Always, always add a full and accurate reference.
  5. Concepts and definitions from related fields (philosophy, sociology, linguistics, communication etc.) are welcome.
  6. You are encouraged to add more than one definition per concept (because if every concept had but one definition, anthropology would be kind of dull, don't you think?).
  7. To create a new article, add the concept to the main page (take note that the list is alphabetically ordered), save it, and enter the red link that appears. You will then access the edit part of this page.
  8. As far as style and format are concerned, just stick to the same style and format you see in the site's other articles. You can copy and paste the HTML code from the 'edit' tab in any page in this site.
  9. If you choose to edit or delete an existing article, add a short summary of what you did in the discussion section, along with a short explanation. The discussion sections of each article are also the place to raise questions and topics for - well - discussion.