Ol·​mec ˈäl-ˌmek How to pronounce Olmec (audio)
: an ancient people of the southern east coast of Mexico who flourished about 1200 to 400 b.c.

Examples of Olmec in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The book trawls the depths of human history, meandering from Neolithic Ukraine to the Sumerians of Mesopotamia to the Harappan civilization of the Indus River basin to the Olmec, Yurok, and Wyandot peoples of the Americas and on even to the European Enlightenment. Walter Scheidel, Foreign Affairs, 19 Apr. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Olmec.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Nahuatl Ōlmēcah, a coastal people in Aztec history, from Ōlmān, their homeland, probably from ōlli rubber

First Known Use

1852, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Olmec was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near Olmec

Cite this Entry

“Olmec.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Olmec. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

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