archaic

adjective
ar·​cha·​ic | \ är-ˈkā-ik How to pronounce archaic (audio) \

Definition of archaic

1 : having the characteristics of the language of the past and surviving chiefly in specialized uses an archaic word

Note: In this dictionary the label archaic is affixed to words and senses relatively common in earlier times but infrequently used in present-day English.

2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of an earlier or more primitive time : antiquated archaic legal traditions
3 capitalized : of or belonging to the early or formative phases of a culture or a period of artistic development especially : of or belonging to the period leading up to the classical period of Greek culture
4 : surviving from an earlier period specifically : typical of a previously dominant evolutionary stage
5 capitalized : of or relating to the period from about 8000 b.c. to 1000 b.c. and the North American cultures of that time

Other Words from archaic

archaically \ är-​ˈkā-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce archaic (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for archaic

old, ancient, venerable, antique, antiquated, archaic, obsolete mean having come into existence or use in the more or less distant past. old may apply to either actual or merely relative length of existence. old houses an old sweater of mine ancient applies to occurrence, existence, or use in or survival from the distant past. ancient accounts of dragons venerable stresses the impressiveness and dignity of great age. the family's venerable patriarch antique applies to what has come down from a former or ancient time. collected antique Chippendale furniture antiquated implies being discredited or outmoded or otherwise inappropriate to the present time. antiquated teaching methods archaic implies having the character or characteristics of a much earlier time. the play used archaic language to convey a sense of period obsolete may apply to something regarded as no longer acceptable or useful even though it is still in existence. a computer that makes earlier models obsolete

Examples of archaic in a Sentence

The author is a bluestocking, with a weakness for etymology and archaic religious texts, her body of work lauded for revealing the sacred in the ordinary. — Kathryn Harrison, New York Times Book Review, 21 Dec. 2008 Europe's economic growth and productivity, Judt reminds us, for all the horror stories about archaic work regulations and inflexible labor markets, has remained impressive up to the current moment. — John T. McGreevy, Commonweal, 24 Mar. 2006 Between the upper limit of radiocarbon dating (about 50 ka) and the lower limit of radiogenic potassium dating (about 0.5 Ma) there used to exist a chronological lacuna that I call the Gap. This temporal range encompasses the transition of archaic humans into fully modern forms, so the lack of a reliable means of dating fossils from the Gap was disconcerting. — Ervan G. Garrison, Physics Today, October 2001 The company needs to update its archaic computer systems.
Recent Examples on the Web Our system of government is attacked as archaic, unfair, and racially biased. The Signers, National Review, 12 May 2022 With that in mind, the centering of Jake and Samantha's storylines seems more archaic than genuinely arresting. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 7 Apr. 2022 Through a series of interviews with high-profile watchmakers, collectors and dealers, Culyba presents a compelling case for the craft of telling time through a technology that’s been archaic for decades. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, 24 Apr. 2022 Indeed, music as an asset is among the messiest, due to archaic laws governing royalty rates. Jem Aswad, Variety, 21 Apr. 2022 That archaic law has since been revoked, but India remains a deeply conservative society. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 29 Mar. 2022 That’s why the firsts are still relatively important, because there are people who still have archaic views about what comedy should be. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Mar. 2022 Whoever was the last player standing was congratulated and presented with an archaic plastic Pez candy dispenser capped with the head of some old cartoon character, to great applause. Jerry Hendrix, National Review, 19 Mar. 2022 While the practice known as privateering is archaic, the idea has come up in recent decades. Timothy Bella And Amy Cheng, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'archaic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of archaic

1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for archaic

French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek archaïkos, from archaios

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Time Traveler for archaic

Time Traveler

The first known use of archaic was in 1810

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Dictionary Entries Near archaic

archai

archaic

archaicism

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Statistics for archaic

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Archaic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archaic. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for archaic

archaic

adjective
ar·​cha·​ic | \ är-ˈkā-ik How to pronounce archaic (audio) \

Kids Definition of archaic

: of, relating to, or existing from an earlier time archaic words archaic customs

archaic

adjective
ar·​cha·​ic | \ är-ˈkā-ik How to pronounce archaic (audio) \

Medical Definition of archaic

1 : typical of a previously dominant evolutionary stage archaic features of a fossil skull
2 : having the characteristics of primitive humans and their animal forebears especially as represented in the unconscious and appearing in behavior as manifestations of the unconscious

More from Merriam-Webster on archaic

Nglish: Translation of archaic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of archaic for Arabic Speakers

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