archaic

adjective
ar·​cha·​ic | \ är-ˈkā-ik \

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

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Other Words from archaic

archaically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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 The locals spoke a Slavish dialect so thick and archaic that it sounded as if they were chewing stale bread. — Bruce Sterling, Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 2005 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Suddenly the archaic House of Windsor has become incredibly relevant. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Tour of Australia Is Crucial to the Future of the Monarchy," 1 Nov. 2018 Traditional celebrities are glamorous — a word that, at the root, points to the illusion involved in public life: its archaic meaning is magic. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk is the first influencer CEO," 21 Dec. 2018 Fed up with the archaic beauty standards these pageants inflict on her town, Willowdean, whom her mom sweetly calls Dumplin', decides to enter the next competition and set the haters straight. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "The Trailer For Jennifer Aniston’s New Netflix Movie Is Here, and It Has a Body-Positive Message," 14 Nov. 2018 People with this archaic outlook are either misinformed, uneducated, or bigoted. Vogue, "Teddy Quinlivan: Why I’m Standing Up Against Trump’s Anti-Trans Agenda," 26 Oct. 2018 But Morton ascribed to an archaic worldview that held that there were five distinct races, each representing separate acts of creation, and thus falling into a divinely determined hierarchy. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "There’s new evidence confirming bias of the “father of scientific racism”," 4 Oct. 2018 The archaic language has rankled lawmakers and voters for years -- and in November, Coloradans will have the chance to strike the language for good. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Colorado ballot measure would remove 'slavery' from state constitution," 30 July 2018 By the end of the 1920s, aether was discarded, archaic. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "The Eternal Quest for Aether, the Cosmic Stuff That Never Was," 19 Oct. 2018 Across California, there are about 3,000 water agencies, remnants of an archaic system that until about two decades ago allowed anyone with a water source that could serve 15 or more people to seek a permit to create a community water system. Ruben Vives, latimes.com, "Abolishing a water district isn't easy — even when it's accused of nepotism, mismanagement and delivering brown water," 7 July 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for archaic

Last Updated

8 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for archaic

The first known use of archaic was in 1810

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More Definitions for archaic

archaic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of archaic

: old and no longer used

: old and no longer useful

: of or relating to ancient times

archaic

adjective
ar·​cha·​ic | \ är-ˈkā-ik \

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 \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on archaic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with archaic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for archaic

Spanish Central: Translation of archaic

Nglish: Translation of archaic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of archaic for Arabic Speakers

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