ar·​cha·​ism | \ ˈär-kē-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce archaism (audio) , -(ˌ)kā-ˌi- \

Definition of archaism

1 : the use of archaic diction or style
2 : an instance of archaic usage
3 : something archaic especially : something (such as a practice or custom) that is outmoded or old-fashioned

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Other Words from archaism

archaist \ ˈär-​kē-​ist How to pronounce archaism (audio) , -​(ˌ)kā-​ist \ noun
archaistic \ ˌär-​kē-​ˈi-​stik How to pronounce archaism (audio) , -​(ˌ)kā-​ \ adjective
archaize \ ˈär-​kē-​ˌīz How to pronounce archaism (audio) , -​(ˌ)kā-​ \ verb

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, "Listen up! Our critic picks three new audiobooks for your playlist.," 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, "In His New Collection, ‘The Rub of Time,’ Martin Amis Takes On Everyone From Travolta to Trump," 28 Feb. 2018 For the Latin American left, that vision has congealed into archaism. The Economist, "BelloTime to bury Che Guevara for good," 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, "Of Arms and the Man," 22 Sep. 2017 Full of archaisms, the language has a neo-Nabokovian extravagance, occasionally overindulgent. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 13 Feb. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'archaism.' 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 archaism

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for archaism

New Latin archaïsmus, from Greek archaïsmos, from archaios

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Time Traveler for archaism

Time Traveler

The first known use of archaism was in 1643

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Cite this Entry

“Archaism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for archaism



English Language Learners Definition of archaism

: an old word or expression that is no longer used : an archaic word or expression

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for archaism Encyclopedia article about archaism

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