pa·​leo·​ge·​og·​ra·​phy ˌpā-lē-ō-jē-ˈä-grə-fē How to pronounce paleogeography (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-
: the geography of ancient times or of a particular past geologic epoch
ˌpā-lē-ō-ˌjē-ə-ˈgra-fik How to pronounce paleogeography (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-
or paleogeographical
ˌpā-lē-ō-ˌjē-ə-ˈgra-fi-kəl How to pronounce paleogeography (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-
ˌpā-lē-ō-ˌjē-ə-ˈgra-fi-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce paleogeography (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The position of a landmass in the geologic past — a continent’s paleogeography — could be used to claim rights to that land. Brian Romans, WIRED, 19 Sep. 2010

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

Word History


paleo- + geography

Note: Probably coined on multiple occasions. The geologist Thomas Sterry Hunt regarded the word as a neologism when he used it in 1872 ("The student of organic fossils constructs from their history the sciences of paleophytology and paleozoölogy; and we may also, from the records of the attendant physical changes, construct what may be appropriately named paleogeography, or, the geographical history of these ancient geological periods." —"The Paleogeography of the North American Continent," "Read November 12, 1872," Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, vol. 4 [1873], p. 417). French paléogéographie was used in the table of contents of Hervé Faye's translation of Alexander von Humboldt's Kosmos (Cosmos, Essai d'une description physique du monde, première partie, Paris, 1847), though there is no corresponding word in the German text, which lacks a table of contents.

First Known Use

1881, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of paleogeography was in 1881

Dictionary Entries Near paleogeography

Cite this Entry

“Paleogeography.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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