What is a thanantologist?

Today’s featured personal ad on the front page of the Forumosa Forum Index, the poster states that she is an “aspiring thanantologist”. I never saw that word before, so I tried looking it up on several dictionary and encyclopedia sites on the web, and turned up nada. I kept getting a close match to “thanatologist” which means “student of death and dying”. So does this girl have a morbid streak and made a typo, or is thanantologist something different? Is it some sort of guru/priest in some weird religious cult? Seriously, this is starting to bug me. Someone please explain.

Could be a grief counselor.

That would be a thanatologist. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to think that she just misspelled the word.

It a term that has a special medical use, a health care person like a nurse who specialises in death and dying (ie. a geriatric thanatologist) or a social worker or psychologist who works in grief counseling. That’s the good news (professional definition) Now, if she asks you to :noway: take a cold bath and lay very still… :thumbsdown:


Thanatology is the academic, and often scientific, study of death among human beings. It investigates the circumstances surrounding a person’s death, the grief experienced by the deceased’s loved ones, and larger social attitudes towards death such as ritual and memorialization. It is primarily an interdisciplinary study, frequently undertaken by professionals in nursing, psychology, sociology, psychiatry, social work and veterinary science. It also describes bodily changes that accompany death and the after-death period.

The word is derived from the Greek language. In Greek mythology, Thanatos (θάνατος: “death”) is the personification of death. The English suffix -ology derives from the Greek suffix -logia (-λογια: “speaking”).

Yes, I looked up “thanatologist”, but she spelled it “thanantologist”. Either she misspelled the word or is talking about something different.

Maybe she’s an unsympathetic grief counselor, who stands at the foot of the hospital bed and says, “ththth-nah-nah-nah-nah!” You know, like Robin Williams as Patch Adams, spending time with a guy dying of spleen cancer. The patient’s wife–young and lovely–leaves, and he says to the dying man, “You know, when you’re gone… wink wink nudge nudge”. :idunno:

*the dying man bursts out laughing.

Definitely a typo, there’s no other word even close it could be confused with.


I did the same thing as Quentin this afternoon. It was driving me crazy too. I just went with the assumption that it was a typo. She’s only 18. Must be some sort of new goth trend for “mature” young people. :slight_smile:

I bet she’s a real bundle of laughs.

Great thing to put on your personals ad.

Grief counselor? In a personal ad? She’s only 18 and a non-native speaker. I guess she means “goth”, myself. Somebody should answer the ad and find out what she means. I’d volunteer, but …

You guys are all silly. No matter if it is study of death or grief counselor everyone has different things they want to do with their life. Study of death? Maybe she has a scientific mind and is fascinated by mortality. Grief counselor? What a selfless thing to want to be. To help people through the hardest part of their life.

That was my guess too. The human experience is interesting – every part of it, from birth to death. Different religions and cultures have approached each aspect of it differently, including death, and I can easily see that kind of comparative study being of interest to some inquiring mind.

Call me goth but I agree and up you this:
Birth is not all that fascinating because most of us have similar birth experiences and it is something we know is coming and when. It is also something that we know the general idea of what happens afterward. Death, however, is mysterious in so many ways. It is easy to be fascinated by something so mysterious that we must all eventually face.

Not me. Being born was a complete surprise and completely ruined my plan to spend the rest of my existence luxuriating in the womb. And despite the fact that the event was probably no different from anyone else’s, I don’t really remember much about it except that there was a bright light and then someone hit me.

As for the ‘general idea of what happens afterward’, well I guess being slapped in the face was good preparation for the rest of my life as it showed me what to expect. But when you look at the details my life has been a series of surprises and things I didn’t have the foggiest of general ideas about, and on the whole it’s worked out OK. Even today, being alive continues to be an adventure and is full of weird and wonderfully unexpected things.

Focusing on the end, rather than on the path you take to get there (or avoid getting there) seems to miss the point rather. Life’s for living, and ‘aspiring model’ or no, a fascination with death is not going to make you seem like someone I would want to spend time with. A little joie de vivre goes a long way.

Being a Dickens fan, I will have to disagree with you. Some death fascinated people are quite fascinating.

what’s wrong with “watching TV and listening to music” as a hobby?..jeesh the youf of today…still we all learnt a new word so hats off to her…

TV isn’t a hobby. Hobbies involve doing something, not just staring at a screen.

No shit! That’s one of the things I fight with my man about. He actually enjoys watching TV. I thought this was something you did when you were too sick to leave the house.

No, it’s something you do when you are too sick to leave the bed.