Definition of diluvial
: of, relating to, or brought about by a flood
diluvial was our Word of the Day on 08/09/2011. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Did You Know?
Late Latin diluvialis means "flood." It’s from Latin diluere ("to wash away") and ultimately from "lavere" ("to wash"). English "diluvial" and its variant "diluvian" initially referred to the Biblical Flood. Geologists, archaeologists, fossilists, and the like used the words, beginning back in the mid-1600s, to mark a distinct geological turning point associated with the Flood. They also used "antediluvian" and "postdiluvian" to describe the periods before and after the Flood. It wasn’t until the 1800s that people started using "diluvial" for floods and flooding in general. American educator and essayist Caroline M. Kirkland, one early user of this sense, wrote, "Much of our soil is said to be diluvial - the wash of the great ocean lakes as they overflowed towards the south," in her essay Forest Life in 1850.
Learn More about diluvial
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up diluvial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).