Definition of archaic
1 : having the characteristics of the language of the past and surviving chiefly in specialized uses an archaic word
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
archaicallyplay \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
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.
Recent Examples of archaic from the Web
Growers who do comply with the regulations say the process is archaic and labyrinthine, passing through at least four agencies, some of which still rely on paper and postage stamps, or don’t have enough staff to answer phones.
To many, the idea of universal service – that ubiquitous access in and of itself is a worthy public policy goal – is inextricably linked to an archaic, centralized, paternalistic, and discredited approach to government.
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.
Origin and Etymology of archaic
French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek archaïkos, from archaios
First Known Use: 1810See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of archaic
ARCHAIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of archaic for English Language Learners
: old and no longer used
: old and no longer useful
: of or relating to ancient times
ARCHAIC Defined for Kids
Definition of archaic for Students
: of, relating to, or existing from an earlier time archaic words archaic customs
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
Seen and Heard
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