an·​te·​bel·​lum ˌan-ti-ˈbe-ləm How to pronounce antebellum (audio)
: existing before a war
especially : existing before the American Civil War
antebellum houses
the antebellum South

Examples of antebellum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rembrandt painted it in 1852 during an antebellum revival of interest in Washington. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 27 Jan. 2024 What is often missing in basic American history courses is the social and political nature of the antebellum South, that being an oligarchy and police state. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, 4 Jan. 2024 Natchez, Mississippi Natchez contains examples of antebellum architecture and is among the oldest cities on the Mississippi River. Katy Spratte Joyce, Travel + Leisure, 12 Nov. 2023 In reality, several monuments scattered over the landscape perpetuate the Lost Cause myth, which argues that the Confederate states’ chief goal was simply to protect the sanctity of state rights – whitewashing the atrocities of slavery and romanticizing the antebellum South. Rebecca Sheehan, The Conversation, 17 Nov. 2023 Murals on the courtroom walls depict an antebellum history that some clearly view as glorious and others recognize to be demeaning. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 13 Oct. 2023 The antebellum garb is an unmistakable Walker signature, but the scene is expressive and foreboding — not the archly comic and subversive work for which the artist is best known. Kriston Capps, Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2023 Others attacked the film for presenting a romanticized picture of the antebellum South. Kyle Swenson, Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2023 Seven decades had to elapse before readers were willing suspend disbelief about the antebellum South and luxuriate in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Amity Shlaes, National Review, 14 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antebellum.' 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 ante bellum before the war

First Known Use

1826, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of antebellum was in 1826


Dictionary Entries Near antebellum

Cite this Entry

“Antebellum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


an·​te·​bel·​lum ˌant-i-ˈbel-əm How to pronounce antebellum (audio)
: existing before a war
especially : existing before the American Civil War

More from Merriam-Webster on antebellum

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