Or·​do·​vi·​cian ˌȯr-də-ˈvi-shən How to pronounce Ordovician (audio)
: of, relating to, or being the period between the Cambrian and the Silurian or the corresponding system of rocks see Geologic Time Table
Ordovician noun

Examples of Ordovician in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But while Cambrian deposits like the Burgess Shale preserve multiple examples of interactions between different species, similar sites from the following Ordovician period are much rarer, Dr. Nanglu said. Asher Elbein, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2023 Speculative studies have suggested that events in Earth's fossil record, such as the Late Ordovician mass extinction, could have been caused by a gamma-ray-burst strike. Peter Tuthill, Scientific American, 15 Aug. 2023 The earlier Cambrian period witnessed the origins of animals but by the end of the Ordovician period, Earth was home to more varied and diverse ecosystems. Katie Hunt, CNN, 1 May 2023 The newfound fossils also offer an unparalleled glimpse into a dynamic chapter of evolution called the great Ordovician biodiversification event. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 10 May 2023 The fossils come from a period of time known as the Ordovician when life was becoming more complex. Katie Hunt, CNN, 1 May 2023

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

Word History


Latin Ordovices, ancient people in northern Wales

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Ordovician was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near Ordovician

Cite this Entry

“Ordovician.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ordovician. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


Or·​do·​vi·​cian ˌȯrd-ə-ˈvish-ən How to pronounce Ordovician (audio)
: of, relating to, or being a period of the Paleozoic era of geological history or the corresponding system of rocks see geologic time
Ordovician noun
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