noun \nē-ˈan-dər-ˌtl, -ˌthl; nā-ˈän-dər-ˌtäl\

: a type of early human being that existed very long ago in Europe

: a man who is stupid and rude

: a person who has very old-fashioned ideas and who does not like change

Full Definition of NEANDERTHAL

or Ne·an·der·tal \-ˌtl, -ˌtäl\ :  a hominid (Homo neanderthalensis syn H. sapiens neanderthalensis) known from skeletal remains in Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia that lived from about 30,000 to 200,000 years ago —called also Neanderthal man
:  one who suggests a caveman in appearance, mentality, or behavior
Neanderthal or Neandertal adjective
Ne·an·der·thal·oid \-ˌt-ˌlid, -ˌth-, -ˌtä-\ adjective or noun


  1. I can't believe I was married to that Neanderthal for three years.
  2. Some Neanderthals continue to resist the education reform bill.


Neanderthal, valley in western Germany
First Known Use: 1874

Other Anthropology Terms

ectomorph, ethnography, prehistory, yurt


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Species of the human genus (Homo) that inhabited much of Europe and the Mediterranean lands c. 200,000–28,000 years ago. The name derives from the discovery in 1856 of remains in a cave above Germany's Neander Valley. Some scholars designate the species as Homo neanderthalensis and do not consider Neanderthals direct ancestors of modern humans (Homo sapiens). Others regard them as a late archaic form of H. sapiens that was absorbed into modern human populations in some areas while simply dying out in others. Neanderthals were short, stout, and powerful. Cranial capacity equaled or surpassed that of modern humans, though their braincases were long, low, and wide. Their limbs were heavy, but they seem to have walked fully erect and had hands as capable as those of modern humans. They were cave dwellers who used fire, wielded stone tools and wooden spears to hunt animals, buried their dead, and cared for their sick or injured. They may have used language and may have practiced a primitive form of religion. See also Mousterian industry.


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