neo·​lith·​ic | \ ˌnē-ə-ˈli-thik How to pronounce neolithic (audio) \

Definition of neolithic

1 capitalized : of or relating to the latest period of the Stone Age characterized by polished stone implements
2 : belonging to an earlier age and now outmoded

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Since lithos in Greek means "stone", the Neolithic period is the "new" or "late" period of the Stone Age, in contrast to the Paleolithic period ("old" or "early" period) and the Mesolithic period ("middle" period) of the Stone Age. The use of polished stone tools came to different parts of the world at different times, but the Neolithic Age is usually said to begin around 9000 B.C. and to end around 3000 B.C., when the Bronze Age begins. The Neolithic is the era when the farming of plants and animals begins, and when, as a result, humans first begin to create permanent settlements.

Examples of neolithic in a Sentence

my old manual typewriter now seems positively neolithic
Recent Examples on the Web Cliffs riddled with thousands of neolithic caves, some still used as homes or animal sheds, some once used as churches, hover above. The Economist, "A dam threatens one of the world’s oldest settlements," 26 Sep. 2019 Some estimates have humans observing solstices as early as the Stone Age (~2.5 million years ago) while others posit that neolithic humans used the summer solstice as an indicator for planting and harvesting crops. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need to Know About the Summer Solstice," 18 June 2019 Stonehenge, the neolithic-era site in England, is typically closed to the public but is opened annually for the Solstice. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "The Summer Solstice isn't just about weather - it's also about romance," 21 June 2018 Highlights include visits to Connemara and Killarney national parks and the Cliffs of Moher as well as to neolithic stone circles, Celtic forts, castles, monastic sites and pre-Christian tombs. Anne Harnagel,, "Hiking, history and culture collide on this tour of southern Ireland," 12 June 2018 And archaeologists have proven through tests that there are plenty of possible techniques open to peoples of the neolithic to do just that. Fox News, "Stonehenge secret revealed? Scientist suggests new theory about ancient site," 14 May 2018 Beauty Mark App Works of art Scientists have determined some of the world's oldest neolithic cave art was actually done by cavewomen, not cavemen as previously assumed. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Morning Headlines: Kathy Bates Gets Totally Candid, How You Can Help Military Brides — and More," 10 Oct. 2013 The practice started sometime in the neolithic period (roughly 6,000-8,000 years ago) with simple stone mounds the size of a kitchen table. Julia Kate Clark, Smithsonian, "As Mongolia Melts, Looters Close In On Priceless Artifacts," 11 Apr. 2018 Last June, Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, one of Europe’s only known neolithic necropolises, closed for a series of improvements to its environmental management system. Stacey Mckenna, Smithsonian, "Malta’s Hypogeum, One of the World’s Best Preserved Prehistoric Sites, Reopens to the Public," 23 May 2017

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

1865, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for neolithic

neo- + -lithic

Note: Term introduced, along with Paleolithic, by the British politician and scientist Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913) in Pre-historic Times, as Illustrated by Ancient Remains, and the Manners and Customs of Modern Savages (London, 1865), p. 3.

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The first known use of neolithic was in 1865

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Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Neolithic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

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