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

Behind the two cathedrals lies Medieval Market, a slightly smaller market selling medieval-era souvenirs and, well, more food and wine. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 These include ancient manuscripts from Galen that were written over and re-used in the medieval era. James Rogers, Fox News, "Ancient papyrus mystery solved," 16 July 2018 Collars from the medieval era are studded with spikes and barbed metal. Laura M. Holson, New York Times, "That Shaggy Mutt? At Dog Museums, Our Drooling Companions Are the Stars," 22 Apr. 2018 For each player, the medieval era can be a Dark Age, a Normal Age, a Golden Age, or a Heroic Age. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "A Dark Age, a Golden Age, or a Heroic Age?," 8 Feb. 2018 Re-creating medieval-era fermented honey wine as a modern drink that isn't limited to Renaissance fairs takes more than clever marketing. Michael Stilwell, Popular Mechanics, "Made in the USA: One Awesome Thing Built in Each State," 29 June 2017 Bennet’s father, a descendant of a Mayflower passenger, earned a Harvard Ph.D. (medieval Russian history), and was an aide to a U.S. ambassador to India, and later worked for Democrats Hubert Humphrey, Ed Muskie, and Tom Eagleton. George Will, National Review, "To Defeat Trump, Democrats Should Nominate Michael Bennet," 14 July 2019 Like our own world, China Miéville’s is marked by hierarchies of wealth and power, but the conflicts those hierarchies engender produce a universe of bizarre inhabitants, a compound of the medieval and the future. Steve Fraser, WSJ, "Five Best: Steve Fraser on Social Class," 21 June 2019 For decades, the country’s capital, called Luxembourg City, was a sleepy medieval city whose tranquil streets were home to a secretive finance industry. Fortune, "Tiny Luxembourg Is Having a Big Brexit Moment," 10 Aug. 2019

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

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for medieval

The first known use of medieval was in 1817

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More Definitions for medieval

medieval

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on medieval

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with medieval

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for medieval

Spanish Central: Translation of medieval

Nglish: Translation of medieval for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of medieval for Arabic Speakers

Comments on medieval

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