Definition of martyrology in English:



mass noun
  • 1The branch of history that deals with the lives of martyrs.

    • ‘With the way cleared for a sympathetic reading of the phenomenon of martyrology, Gregory next explores the historical context and theological landscape that shaped the complex of martyrs.’
    • ‘This is an indication of how nineteenth-century nationalist martyrology diffused throughout Ireland and was integrated into local tradition.’
    • ‘That would have been sufficient to ensure for him at least a significant status in nationalist martyrology, but hardly the ‘godlike’ status of legend.’
    • ‘I would have expected more discussion on intellectuals as producers of ethnocentric symbols of exclusion, ethnic self-aggrandizement, self-pity, and exalted martyrology.’
    • ‘‘Ironically,’ notes Miller, ‘the sort of feminist reading which stressed Charlotte's victimhood unintentionally reproduced the martyrology of the Victorians.’’
    1. 1.1count noun A list of martyrs.
      • ‘This transformation demonstrates both the fluid nature of ‘memory’ and the ability of martyrologies to conform to the social needs of the moment.’
      • ‘On the Catholic side, in the mid-seventeenth century, groups of church scholars known as the Bollandists and Maurists compiled ecclesiastical histories and martyrologies, such as the monumental Acta Sanctorum (Lives of the Saints).’
      • ‘The feast of St Barbara is celebrated by the Greek and Roman calendars on 4 December; the 9th-century martyrologies cite 16 December which is the traditional English date for the festival.’
      • ‘At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February.’
      • ‘Exeter Cathedral Library still possesses a martyrology (a calendar of saints) in which are written out the names of the dead for whom the clergy prayed in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.’


Late 16th century via medieval Latin from ecclesiastical Greek marturologion, from martur ‘martyr’ + logos ‘account’.