Samuel Johnson’s 1755 A Dictionary of the English Language does not have an definition for geography.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined geography as:[1]
1 – “Properly, a description of the earth or terrestrial globe, particularly of the divisions of its surface, natural and artificial, and of the position of the several countries, kingdoms, states, cities, etc. As a science, geography includes the doctrine or knowledge of the astronomical circles or divisions of the sphere, by which the relative position of places on the globe may be ascertained, and usually treatises of geography contain some account of the inhabitants of the earth, of their government, manners, etc., and an account of the principal animals, plants and minerals.”
2 – “A book containing a description of the earth.”

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defined it as:[2]
1 – “a science that deals with the description, distribution, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological, and cultural features of the earth’s surface”
2 – “the geographic features of an area”
3 – “a treatise on geography”
4a – “a delineation or systematic arrangement of constituent elements CONFIGURATION”
4b – “MAKEUP sense 1” defined it as:[3]
1 – “the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth’s surface, as shown in the character, arrangement, and interrelations over the world of such elements as climate, elevation, soil, vegetation, population, land use, industries, or states, and of the unit areas formed by the complex of these individual elements.”
2 – “the study of this science.”
3 – “the topographical features of a region, usually of the earth, sometimes of the planets.”
4 – “a book dealing with this science or study, as a textbook.”
5 – “the arrangement of features of any complex entity”

Lexico defined it as:[4]
1 – “The study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and resources and political and economic activities.”
1.1 – “The nature and relative arrangement of places and physical features.”
1.2 – “a geographical area; a region.”


“15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1.
Latin geographia, from Greek geōgraphia, from geōgraphein to describe the earth’s surface, from geō- + graphein to write — more at CARVE”[2]

“Late 15th century from French géographie or Latin geographia, from Greek geōgraphia, from gē ‘earth’ + -graphia ‘writing’.”[4]

“1535–45; <Latin geōgraphia<Greek geōgraphía earth description. See geo-, -graphy”[3]

“”the science of description of the earth’s surface in its present condition,” 1540s, from Middle French géographie (15c.), from Latin geographia, from Greek geographia “description of the earth’s surface,” from geo- “earth” + -graphia “description” (see -graphy).”


“[The 17th] century also produced several good works relative to universal geography, none of which contributed more to the enlargement of this branch of science, than the publications of CHR. CELLARIUS (died 1707), to whose lucubrations ancient geography is largely endebted. In his Notitia orbis antique (1701) he eclipsed the merits of all his antecessors.”[6, p .387]
– Whittingham, et al. (1801)

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[1] – Accessed 13 Oct. 2020.

[2] – “Geography.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Oct. 2020.

[3] – Accessed 13 Oct. 2020.

[4] – Accessed 13 Oct. 2020.

[5] – Accessed 13 Oct. 2020.

[6] – C. Whittingham, Dean Street, & Fetter Lane. “The German Museum, Or Monthly Repository of the Literature of Germany, the North and the Continent in General ….Volume 3” (1801). Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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