Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

primeval

play
adjective pri·me·val \prī-ˈmē-vəl\

Simple Definition of primeval

  • : very old or ancient

  • : basic and powerful

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of primeval

  1. 1 :  of or relating to the earliest ages (as of the world or human history) :  ancient, primitive <100 acres of primeval forest which has never felt an ax — Mary R. Zimmer>

  2. 2 :  primordial 1b

primevally play \-və-lē\ adverb

Examples of primeval in a sentence

  1. <primeval forests slowly disappearing as the climate changed>



Did You Know?

First things first. "Primeval" comes from the Latin words primus, meaning "first, and aevum, meaning "age." In Latin, those terms were brought together to form "primaevus," a word that means "of or relating to the earliest ages." Other English words that descend from "primus" include "prime" and "primary," "primordial" (a synonym of "primeval"), and "primitive." "Primus" also gave rise to some terms for folks who are number one in charge, including "prince" and "principal."

Origin of primeval

Latin primaevus, from primus first + aevum age — more at aye


First Known Use: 1662


PRIMEVAL Defined for Kids

primeval

play
adjective pri·me·val \prī-ˈmē-vəl\

Definition of primeval for Students

  1. :  belonging to the earliest time :  primitive <… wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest … — Jack London, The Call of the Wild>



Word Root of primeval

The Latin word primus, meaning “first,” gives us the root prim. Words from the Latin primus have something to do with being first. Anything primary comes first in importance or order. Anything primeval belongs to a period of time that came first, before the present. Anything primitive also belongs to an earlier time.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up primeval? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by propriety and good taste

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

maudlin oily angry prompt
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ