Definition of antebellum
- antebellum houses
- the antebellum South
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antebellum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Antebellum means "before the war," but it wasn’t widely associated with the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865) until after that conflict was over. The word comes from the Latin phrase ante bellum (literally, "before the war"), and its earliest known print appearance in English dates back to the 1840s. The term's earliest known association with the Civil War is found in an 1862 diary entry: "Her face was as placid and unmoved as in antebellum days." The author of that line, Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut, recorded her observations of life during the Civil War in A Diary from Dixie, often while accompanying her husband, an officer in the Confederate army, on his missions.
: occurring in the southern U.S. during the time before the American Civil War
What made you want to look up antebellum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).