Definition of antebellum
: existing before a war; especially : existing before the American Civil War <antebellum houses> <the antebellum South>
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of antebellum
Latin ante bellum before the war
First Known Use: 1826
ANTEBELLUM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of antebellum for English Language Learners
: occurring in the southern U.S. during the time before the American Civil War
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up antebellum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).