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The study of the shape and protuberances of the skull, based on the now discredited belief that they reveal character and mental capacity.

phren′o·log′ic (frĕn′ə-lŏj′ĭk, frē′nə-), phren′o·log′i·cal (-ĭ-kəl) adj.
phre·nol′o·gist n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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(3.) Caldwell also observes how "most critics of Bronte have assumed that, because she used phrenologic jargon, she quite soberly adopted phrenologic belief....But Bronte's personal and novelistic references to phrenology arc frequently jocular, pointing out that the very literalization that offered reassurance was absurdly inflexible" (109).