ar·​cha·​ism ˈär-kē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce archaism (audio)
: the use of archaic diction or style
: an instance of archaic usage
: something archaic
especially : something (such as a practice or custom) that is outmoded or old-fashioned
ˈär-kē-ist How to pronounce archaism (audio)
archaistic adjective
ˈär-kē-ˌīz How to pronounce archaism (audio)

Examples of archaism in a Sentence

the archaisms “methinks” and “saith”
Recent Examples on the Web Narrator Mary Lewis, raised in Newfoundland herself, delivers the book in a manner that seems stilted at first but grows more appealing as Lewis moves further into the story, with its pleasing archaisms and evocation of balked communication. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2020 That phrase, which may strike some young American ears as an archaism if not an oxymoron, is worth unpacking, and Amis provides readers with a pocket account of the historical preconditions of his extravagant fame. A.o. Scott, New York Times, 28 Feb. 2018 For the Latin American left, that vision has congealed into archaism. The Economist, 12 Oct. 2017 But the main challenge for any translator is to remain true to Virgil without wrenching him into archaism or stiffness. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2017 Full of archaisms, the language has a neo-Nabokovian extravagance, occasionally overindulgent. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2017

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

Word History


New Latin archaïsmus, from Greek archaïsmos, from archaios

First Known Use

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of archaism was in 1643

Dictionary Entries Near archaism

Cite this Entry

“Archaism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​cha·​ism ˈär-kē-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce archaism (audio)
: the use of archaic words
: an archaic word or expression

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