Pa·​leo·​lith·​ic | \ ˌpā-lē-ə-ˈli-thik How to pronounce Paleolithic (audio) , especially British ˌpa- How to pronounce Paleolithic (audio) \

Definition of Paleolithic

: of or relating to the earliest period of the Stone Age characterized by rough or chipped stone implements

Did You Know?

Since lithos means "stone" in Greek, the name Paleolithic was given to the older part of the Stone Age. The first known period of human culture, the Paleolithic actually covers almost all of human history, from the first use of stone tools around 2.5 million years ago until the invention of agriculture around 10,000 years ago. For almost all that time, humans used the very crudest of stone tools, produced by chipping away flakes of stone in order to make an edge for an ax or knife. Near the end of the period, animal bones and antlers were being used for tools, especially pointed tools, and sculpted figures and cave art were being produced. The Paleolithic gave way to the Mesolithic ("Middle Stone Age") period, with its tools made of polished stone, wood, and bone.

First Known Use of Paleolithic

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Paleolithic

International Scientific Vocabulary

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Paleolithic

Statistics for Paleolithic

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for Paleolithic

The first known use of Paleolithic was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for Paleolithic



English Language Learners Definition of Paleolithic

: of or relating to the time during the early Stone Age when people made rough tools and weapons out of stone

Comments on Paleolithic

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!