pre-Co·​lum·​bi·​an ˌprē-kə-ˈləm-bē-ən How to pronounce pre-Columbian (audio)
: preceding or belonging to the time before the arrival of Columbus in America

Examples of pre-Columbian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The spools frame her mask-like open mouth, decorating voids in the human skull that signaled the soul’s vivacity in pre-Columbian culture. Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Construction of a new 170,000-square-foot wing that will expand collections of African, American, Native American, pre-Columbian and 21st Century art is scheduled to begin next year. Gary Stoller, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Both a social activity and a caffeine-fix, mate dates back to pre-Columbian times, when the leaves were hand-picked in the same manner as Lemos has been doing for the past 30 years. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 The men are standing in a field overlooking Moray, an enormous pre-Columbian basin of concentric tiers dug into a mountainside above Peru’s Sacred Valley of the Incas. Simeon Tegel, Washington Post, 8 Jan. 2024 The artist’s inspirations include Japanese, Islamic and pre-Columbian art and architecture, including the roughly 1,000-year-old Toltec megaliths of Mexico’s Tula region. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2023 Her research helped Mexicans understand their pre-Columbian national heritage, in its sophisticated engineering, gardening, artistry, and cosmology, as being as glorious as that of Mediterranean societies in the classical era. Merilee Grindle, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 Ergo pre-Columbian people must have achieved flight, millennia before Orville and Wilbur Wright, with help from extraterrestrials. Discover Magazine, 4 Dec. 2023 The ancestral beverage has deep roots in Indigenous Ecuadorian culture, dating back to the pre-Columbian era. Jessica Chapel, Condé Nast Traveler, 1 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pre-Columbian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1854, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pre-Columbian was in 1854

Dictionary Entries Near pre-Columbian

Cite this Entry

“Pre-Columbian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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