me·​di·​e·​val | \ ˌmē-ˈdē-vəl How to pronounce medieval (audio) , mi-, ˌme-, -dē-ˈē-vəl How to pronounce medieval (audio) \
variants: or less commonly mediaeval

Definition of medieval

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the Middle Ages medieval history medieval architecture
2 : having a quality (such as cruelty) associated with the Middle Ages
3 : extremely outmoded or antiquated has medieval ideas about the role of women in our society


variants: or less commonly mediaeval

Definition of medieval (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of the Middle Ages

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from medieval


medievally adverb

Did You Know?

With its roots medi-, meaning "middle", and ev-, meaning "age", medieval literally means "of the Middle Ages". In this case, middle means "between the Roman empire and the Renaissance"—that is, after the fall of the great Roman state and before the "rebirth" of culture that we call the Renaissance. This same period used to be called the "Dark Ages", since it was believed that in these years civilization all but vanished. And indeed, for most Europeans in these centuries, it was a time of poverty, famine, plague, and superstition, rather than the age of magic, dazzling swordplay, towering castles, and knights in splendid armor displayed in today's graphic novels and video games.

Examples of medieval in a Sentence

Adjective They're using a computer system that seems positively medieval by today's standards. get rid of that medieval kerosene stove—it stinks and it's dangerous
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective After all, who better to strut around in those jaw-dropping medieval Balenciaga boots than the woman who sang, ‘Confident’? Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "When Demi Met Demna: A Match Made in Heaven," 31 Jan. 2021 Upon entering this mini palace, you'll be dazzled by its medieval-style architecture. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Storybook Home Designed by the Architect Behind Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle Is for Sale," 25 Jan. 2021 Berners leaves on holiday expecting to find a Gothic spire on his return, but Wellesley dislikes the medieval style and builds a severe Classical brick shaft instead. Witold Rybczynski, WSJ, "‘Follies’ Review: Castle Frivolous," 24 Dec. 2020 For the unfamiliar: Demon's Souls revolves around a medieval-style world in a state between the living and the dead. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Demon’s Souls PS5 review: A gorgeous game worth dying (repeatedly) for," 13 Nov. 2020 Opt for pieces made of luxe velvet (like at Marine Serre), and pair with heavy, medieval-esque jewelry (à la Paco Rabanne), for a stylish touch. Eliza Huber,, "Autumn’s Biggest Fashion Trends Are All About Comfort," 28 Aug. 2020 Great-Aunt Gertrude was born in 1869, which is remarkable enough, but her holiday treat was positively medieval. Murr Brewster, The Christian Science Monitor, "Unpacking Great-Aunt Gertrude’s plum pudding," 16 Dec. 2020 Historical accounts of other sporting venues, from the Roman Colosseum to various medieval jousting lists, never mention any sort of scoreboard. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "From Wickets to Uprights: The History of the Scoreboard," 10 Jan. 2021 In this episode of Game Over(analyzed) for’s sister site, Wired, military historian Mike Loades breaks down how medieval weapons and armor are portrayed in modern video games. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine refuses to give details on next rounds of COVID-19 vaccinations: The Wake Up for Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021," 6 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But for Nygren, the photograph called to mind medieval and Renaissance representations of the Ark of the Covenant. Washington Post, "Many Trump-era photos look like dramatic old paintings. That’s no ‘accident.’," 16 Jan. 2021 To do this, the anglers employ a variety of methods, ranging from the medieval to ones that would make James Bond proud. Kirk Deeter, Field & Stream, "F&S Classics: Carp Crazy," 5 Dec. 2020 Gareth Williams, the curator of early-medieval coinage and Viking collections at the British Museum, became entranced by the Norse world as a small child, while paging through a library book. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Curse of the Buried Treasure," 9 Nov. 2020 The previous weekend the company had hosted an immersive medieval-themed weekend for about 30 families who came with R.V.s, tents and costumes. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, "Some Lessons From Home-Schoolers," 23 Sep. 2020 In Wagner’s medieval Nuremberg, there is no separation between art and life—the town’s leading singer, Hans Sachs, earns his living as a shoemaker. Adam Kirsch, The New Republic, "The Problem With Redemption for Wagner," 11 Sep. 2020 Billed in its display as medieval—perhaps several hundred years old at most—the sword struck Dall’Armellina, an expert in Bronze Age artifacts, as something far more ancient. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Graduate Student Discovers One of World’s Oldest Swords in Mislabeled Monastery Display," 16 Mar. 2020 Earlier artifacts dating back to the Roman era have been found beneath the medieval remains. Fox News, "Mysterious graves discovered, may be medieval monks’ cemetery," 25 June 2020 In late medieval and early modern Europe, plague hospitals were frequently staffed by physicians, priests, members of religious orders, and lay religious women and men. Adam J. Davis, The Conversation, "From pews to patients – churches have long served as hospitals, particularly in times of crisis," 27 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'medieval.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of medieval


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medieval

Adjective and Noun

New Latin medium aevum Middle Ages

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about medieval

Time Traveler for medieval

Time Traveler

The first known use of medieval was in 1817

See more words from the same year

Statistics for medieval

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Medieval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for medieval



English Language Learners Definition of medieval

: of or relating to the Middle Ages : of or relating to the period of European history from about A.D. 500 to about 1500
informal : very old : too old to be useful or acceptable


variants: also mediaeval \ ˌmē-​dē-​ˈē-​vəl , ˌme-​ \

Kids Definition of medieval

: of or relating to the Middle Ages medieval castles medieval French

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on medieval

What made you want to look up medieval? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!