an·​te·​di·​lu·​vi·​an ˌan-ti-də-ˈlü-vē-ən How to pronounce antediluvian (audio)
: of or relating to the period before the flood described in the Bible
: made, evolved, or developed a long time ago
an antediluvian automobile
that antediluvian relic known as a slide rule
: extremely primitive or outmoded
an antediluvian prejudice
antediluvian in his politics
antediluvian noun

Did you know?

Before there was antediluvian, there were the Latin words ante (meaning "before") and diluvium (meaning "flood"). In the 1600s, 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. Naturalist 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."

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
Recent Examples on the Web The big transmission lever feels slightly antediluvian in what is otherwise a quite modern interior. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 14 Apr. 2023 Unfortunately, that view seems antediluvian these days. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 9 Dec. 2023 As advanced as the futuristic environment was visually, the team found innovation by juxtaposing the setting with its people and their antediluvian mindsets. Rendy Jones, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2023 Johnson’s top allies include Jacob Rees-Mogg, an antediluvian former hedge-fund manager who has boasted that he’s never changed one of his six children’s diapers. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 14 June 2023 Less told is the story of the wine program, which has grown to the point of bursting, a cascading, antediluvian overflow of wine wine wine, which dominates the restaurant’s interior tableau as a sort of none-too-subtle vinous call to arms. Jordan Michelman, Los Angeles Times, 26 May 2023 In 1972, a number of senatorial elders, including the Republican Charles Mathias of Maryland, having noted the use of antediluvian emergency powers to prosecute the disastrous Vietnam War, had instituted the Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine, 27 Oct. 2020 As in years past, the program draws from some of the moment’s shiniest pop stars, including Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Charlie Puth, and Demi Lovato, along with the antediluvian Backstreet Boys. The New Yorker, 18 Nov. 2022 The Morgan Plus Four for decades was affectionately known as Britain's most antediluvian sports car. Morgan, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'antediluvian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


ante- + Latin diluvium flood — more at deluge

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of antediluvian was in 1646


Dictionary Entries Near antediluvian

Cite this Entry

“Antediluvian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


an·​te·​di·​lu·​vi·​an ˌant-i-də-ˈlü-vē-ən How to pronounce antediluvian (audio)
: of or relating to the period before the Flood described in the Bible
: very old or old-fashioned
antediluvian noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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