mil·​len·​ni·​um | \ mə-ˈle-nē-əm How to pronounce millennium (audio) \
plural millennia\ mə-​ˈle-​nē-​ə How to pronounce millennia (audio) \ or millenniums

Definition of millennium

1a : the thousand years mentioned in Revelation (see revelation sense 3) 20 during which holiness is to prevail and Christ is to reign on earth
b : a period of great happiness or human perfection
2a : a period of 1000 years especially : one reckoned from the beginning of the Christian era at the start of the third millennium
b : a 1000th anniversary or its celebration In 2015 the city of Leipzig, Germany, celebrated its millennium.

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Did You Know?

Since in Latin mille means "thousand", a millennium lasts 1,000 years. Thus, we're living today at the beginning of the third millennium since the birth of Christ. But some religious sects, relying on a prophecy in the biblical Book of Revelation, speak of a coming millennium when Jesus will return to reign on earth for 1,000 years, evil will be banished, and all will live in peace and happiness. Members of these sects who keep themselves in a constant state of preparedness are called millenarians or millennialists.

Examples of millennium in a Sentence

The book describes the changes that have occurred in the landscape over many millennia. The year 2000 was celebrated as the beginning of the third millennium.
Recent Examples on the Web When Netflix announced that every season Dawson's Creek would be available for nostalgic binge-watching beginning on Nov. 1, fans of angsty turn-of-the-millennium teen dramas everywhere rejoiced. Andrea Park, Marie Claire, "Why Is the 'Dawson's Creek' Theme Song Different on Netflix?," 13 Nov. 2020 Three years later, at the tail end of the millennium, U2 returned to its rock roots. Gary Dinges, USA TODAY, "'We got tough on our songwriting': The Edge talks U2's 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' 20 years later," 28 Oct. 2020 Now, the show's inner conflict has taken a whole new direction: for a story all about leaping a millennium into the future to explore the strangest possible new world, Discovery for the most part plays it startlingly safe. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Review: Healing and hope in Star Trek: Discovery’s third season," 15 Oct. 2020 One of Michigan’s rivals from a bygone era, Jim Tressel, predicted Harbaugh would even the rivalry with the Buckeyes that turned lopsided near the beginning of the new millennium. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Harbaugh and the uncomfortable truth of his Michigan football tenure," 18 Oct. 2020 It is anchored in the personalities of Matthew, Zoe and Duncan, as the millennium ends. Bill Buford, Star Tribune, "REVIEWS: 'Dirt,' by Bill Buford, and 'The Boy in the Field,' by Margot Livesey," 10 Oct. 2020 Per the paper, the find is indicative of a broader shift toward urban settlement in the region around the turn of the first millennium A.D. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "In Ancient Kazakhstan, Nomadic Herders Kept Their Toothless Pet Cat Alive," 13 July 2020 In fall 1998, the school community decided to commemorate the coming new millennium by refurbishing the school’s bell. Suzanne Baker,, "First-day-of-class bell peals at Naperville’s Brookdale Elementary -- even without students," 3 Sep. 2020 Back in another time, journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum and her husband, Radosław Sikorski, threw a high-spirited New Year’s Eve party at their manor house in rural Poland to celebrate the turn of the millennium. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, "The reasons why democracy is in decline around the world," 31 Aug. 2020

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

circa 1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for millennium

New Latin, from Latin mille thousand + New Latin -ennium (as in biennium)

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Time Traveler for millennium

Time Traveler

The first known use of millennium was circa 1638

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Statistics for millennium

Last Updated

26 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Millennium.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for millennium


How to pronounce millennium (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of millennium

: a period of 1,000 years
: a period of a thousand years counted from the beginning of the Christian era


mil·​len·​ni·​um | \ mə-ˈle-nē-əm How to pronounce millennium (audio) \
plural millennia\ -​nē-​ə \ or millenniums

Kids Definition of millennium

1 : a period of 1000 years
2 : a 1000th anniversary or its celebration

Other Words from millennium

millennial \ -​nē-​əl \ adjective

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