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

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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 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 Pianon is a notary from Verona, a widower who dresses in elegant shirts and trousers tailored, colonial-style, from linen of an archaic thickness. Andrea Lee, The New Yorker, "The Rivals," 28 Dec. 2020 The result is an honest portrait of both the victim and those who loved her, as well as the cryptic, archaic world of academia. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "The Best Books Vogue Editors Read in 2020," 24 Dec. 2020 The practice of making F grades equivalent to zeroes is archaic, said Julie Walker, Sweetwater teachers union president. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sweetwater school board creates “no credit” grade option for students impacted by pandemic," 15 Dec. 2020 To remove him, lawmakers cited unproven accusations of corruption and used an archaic constitutional clause that allows the Congress to declare the president morally incapable to lead the nation. Mitra Taj, New York Times, "Peru’s President Steps Down After Just 6 Days, Leaving Country Adrift," 15 Nov. 2020 In 2018, Floridians voted overwhelmingly to end greyhound racing, a sport they were told was archaic and inhumane. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "The 25 Most Popular Longreads Exclusives of 2020," 5 Dec. 2020 These examples are relevant only in showing how the archaic use of violence to affirm purity has evolved to serve latter-day ideologies. New York Times, "The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture," 3 Dec. 2020 What appalled him was not the pace of infection, or a lack of protective equipment, but the archaic systems used to tabulate test results and so track the course of the epidemic. The Economist, "The pandemic is inducing Japanese doctors to go digital," 21 Nov. 2020 Bernard explains he’s sprinkling his archaic language with a Worcestershire accent. Scott Eisen, National Geographic, "400 years on, the Pilgrims get a reality check," 11 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for archaic

Time Traveler

The first known use of archaic was in 1810

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Statistics for archaic

Last Updated

8 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Archaic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archaic. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for archaic

archaic

adjective
How to pronounce archaic (audio)

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 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

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