pre·​co·​lo·​nial ˌprē-kə-ˈlō-nē-əl How to pronounce precolonial (audio)
variants or pre-colonial
: existing or occurring before an area undergoes colonization
precolonial America
precolonial cultures

Examples of precolonial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Greater Antilles and the Yucatán Peninsula form one of the most cavernous regions in the world, and many of these grottos contain precolonial inscriptions. Carina Del Valle Schorske, New York Times, 20 Mar. 2024 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many nationalists began looking to the past, especially the precolonial past, for examples of Arab achievement and power. Robyn Creswell, The New York Review of Books, 7 Oct. 2021 Using Travels, Campbell pieced together the precolonial history of the river, before industry and tourism changed the landscape. Kiley Bense, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Without action to restore these lands to something more closely resembling their precolonial conditions, many more sequoias will be lost, the experts fear. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 In precolonial times, fires would sweep through the million-acre Pinelands National Reserve every 50 years or so. Jane Braxton Little, Scientific American, 23 Aug. 2023 Translated by Sam Taylor Binet playfully imagines a world in which the Aztecs and the Incas conquer western Europe, offering a redemptive fantasy that rescues history from the tragedy of the European destruction of the precolonial Americas. Foreign Affairs, 9 Dec. 2021 Others articulated vague utopian visions of small-farm collectives or precolonial communal agriculture. Richard Feinberg, Foreign Affairs, 8 Dec. 2020 At a time when Hollywood seems torn between its promises to rectify historical exclusion and its comfort with existing conservatism, there is, unfairly, a lot riding on The Woman King, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s action film inspired by the women warriors of the Dahomey Kingdom in precolonial Benin. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'precolonial.' 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

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of precolonial was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near precolonial

Cite this Entry

“Precolonial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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