Definition of antediluvian
1 : of or relating to the period before the flood described in the Bible
2a : made, evolved, or developed a long time ago an antediluvian automobile that antediluvian relic known as a slide ruleb : extremely primitive or outmoded an antediluvian prejudice antediluvian in his politics
antediluvian was our Word of the Day on 03/22/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of antediluvian in a sentence
He has antediluvian notions about the role of women in the workplace.
found evidence in the Middle East of an antediluvian people previously unknown to history
Did You Know?
Before there was "antediluvian," there were the Latin words ante (meaning "before") and "diluvium" (meaning "flood"). As long ago as 1646, English speakers were using "antediluvian" to describe conditions they believed existed before the great flood described in the biblical account of Noah and the ark. By the early 1700s, the word had come to be used as both an adjective and a noun referring to anything or anyone prodigiously old. Charles Darwin used it to characterize the mighty "antediluvian trees" some prehistoric mammals might have used as a food source, and in his American Notes, Charles Dickens described an elderly lady who informed him, "It is an extremely proud and pleasant thing . . . to be an antediluvian."
Origin and Etymology of antediluvian
ante- + Latin diluvium flood — more at deluge
First Known Use: 1646
ANTEDILUVIAN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of antediluvian for English Language Learners
: very old or old-fashioned
Learn More about antediluvian
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antediluvian
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up antediluvian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).