medieval

adjective
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

medieval

noun
variants: or less commonly mediaeval

Definition of medieval (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of the Middle Ages

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Other Words from medieval

Adjective

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 exploring Ibiza Town’s medieval streets, refuel on Ibizan and Mediterranean cuisine at Restaurante Arrocería Es Arcs or sample wine at Can Rich de Buscatell in Sant Antoni de Portmany. National Geographic, "Ibiza beyond the clubs: 10 can’t-miss experiences," 16 Aug. 2019 Money transfer helped the order become one of the wealthiest institutions in medieval Europe—a sprawling financial empire and powerful creditor to kings. Fortune, "How Sanctions Are Starting To Squeeze Huawei—Data Sheet," 31 July 2019 Someone who studies post-World War II America may have little grasp of, for example, medieval Europe. Karin Wulf, Twin Cities, "Karin Wulf: What Naomi Wolf and Cokie Roberts teach us about the need for historians," 13 June 2019 On the right bank of the river, commerce was surging to levels unknown in the rest of medieval Europe; and on the left bank the university was attracting students from many countries. Ken Follett, Smithsonian, "A Hymn to Notre-Dame," 15 Apr. 2019 The rulers of medieval Europe acquired legitimacy through force of arms. Simon Jenkins, Harper's magazine, "Occidents Happen," 10 Apr. 2019 On the walk down, wander through the narrow medieval streets to St. Peter’s Cathedral, the 15th-century Renaissance church where Jean-Jacques Rousseau took singing lessons, before heading to the lake. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "Exploring Annecy, the Venice of the French Alps," 7 Nov. 2018 A dozen years ago, many historians believed that the changing climate of medieval Europe was the main reason Norse settlements in Greenland expanded and went extinct. Christina Larson, The Seattle Times, "Walrus bones provide clues to fate of lost Viking colony," 7 Aug. 2018 For the coming week, the Uffizi will host an immersive installation that will allow visitors to relive that night — May 27, 1993 — when a blast close to the museum reverberated through the narrow medieval streets and arches. New York Times, "Florence’s Answer to Mafia Violence: A Painting’s Loving Restoration," 25 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The tariffs could imperil future sales of antiques collections like the Linyushanren Collection, a set of Chinese ceramics from the medieval Song Dynasty assembled by a Japanese collector. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "The Art of the Trade Deal: Chinese Paintings and Antiquities Caught in U.S.-China Fight," 1 Sep. 2018 Silver production rose gradually but steadily through the prosperous medieval warm period. The Economist, "Arctic lead levels shed new light on Europe’s history," 10 July 2019 And maybe also to sort out this whole Jaime/Tormund love triangle situation—a new (and supremely bizarre) subplot that positions Ser Brienne as a medieval Kelly Taylor, forced to choose between Brandon and Dylan. Courtney Shea, Harper's BAZAAR, "Brienne of Tarth Lives—And Gwendoline Christie Has Some Thoughts About that Love Triangle," 6 May 2019 Although most manuscripts date to the late medieval and early modern periods, the practice of copying by hand endured in Yemen well into the 20th century. Christian C. Sahner, WSJ, "Yemen’s Threatened Cultural Heritage," 25 Dec. 2018 Sitting at the foothills of the mystical Mount Taygetus, not only is this medieval walled town a UNESCO World Heritage Monument immersed in fascinating history, but the surrounding natural environment is rugged, raw, and inspiringly real. Alex Postman, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Places Our Travel Specialists Say You Should Go in 2019," 17 Dec. 2018 Candid, gossipy and occasionally imperiled by demons, Margery Kempe was a 15th-century mystic and the author of a terrific medieval tell-all. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "10 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 5 July 2018 Along the way, cyclists pedal past medieval walled villages like Montreuil and the 18th-century Chateau de Long. David Farley, WSJ, "The Best Guides to Cycling Major Cities—Even Los Angeles," 10 May 2018 Starting May 13 and for at least the rest of the month, the medieval Bled Castle will host an exposition on bees and beekeeping in the area. Jeanine Barone, New York Times, "Fall in Love With Bees on an ‘Apitourism’ Trip to Slovenia," 9 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of medieval

Adjective

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medieval

Adjective and Noun

New Latin medium aevum Middle Ages

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Statistics for medieval

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for medieval

The first known use of medieval was in 1817

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More Definitions for medieval

medieval

adjective
How to pronounce medieval (audio) How to pronounce medieval (audio)

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

medieval

adjective
me·​di·​eval
variants: also mediaeval \ ˌmē-​dē-​ˈē-​vəl , ˌme-​ \

Kids Definition of medieval

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

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