pre·his·tor·ic | \ˌprē-(h)i-ˈstȯr-ik, -ˈstär-\
variants: or less commonly prehistorical \ˌprē-(h)i-ˈstȯr-i-kəl, -ˈstär- \

Definition of prehistoric 

1 : of, relating to, or existing in times antedating written history

2 : of or relating to a language in a period of its development from which contemporary records of its sounds and forms have not been preserved

3 : regarded as being outdated or outmoded prehistoric attitudes

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Other Words from prehistoric

prehistorically \ˌprē-(h)i-ˈstȯr-i-k(ə-)lē, -ˈstär- \ adverb

Examples of prehistoric in a Sentence

His attitudes about women are downright prehistoric. prehistoric notions about mental illness that have no place in today's world

Recent Examples on the Web

Beyond guest appearances in the Jurassic Park movies, the tie that binds these popular prehistoric creatures together is their place of birth: they're all found in the U.S. or Canada. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "Move over, T-Rex: Field Museum shows off the diversity of dinos from outside America," 30 May 2018 Beneath Florida’s crust lies a third of the world’s phosphate, the compressed residue of 25 million years of prehistoric creatures. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Polk County: Reclaiming Florida at Streamsong Resort," 6 May 2018 The walls feature prehistoric-looking scenes and pterodactyls. Dewayne Bevil,, "Universal: 'Jurassic World' suites set for Royal Pacific hotel," 12 June 2018 Warner Bros' forthcoming action flick The Meg, in which Jason Statham battles a giant prehistoric shark, has landed a release date in China. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Warner Bros.' Shark Movie 'The Meg' Gets China Release Date," 12 July 2018 The Meg How to build a fake ocean, by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, producer The Plot: A prehistoric monster shark called a megalodon, thought to be extinct, attacks a research vessel. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Secrets of Summer 2018's Greatest Movie Stunts and Effects," 20 June 2018 Watching these prehistoric beasts crush cars underfoot like Coke cans has been a summertime thrill since Steven Spielberg's first installment in 1993. Anchorage Daily News, "Review: The ‘Jurassic World’ sequel achieves the impossible: It makes dinosaurs boring," 20 June 2018 That the prehistoric creatures and man have only ever existed side by side through the dinosaur’s descendants, birds, scarcely matters. Pam Grady,, "Cinematic dinosaurs roared long before the first ‘Jurassic’ movie," 14 June 2018 Students who attended the forum heard stories of the land’s human occupation, from prehistoric people more than 10,000 years ago to a historic family cemetery that remains intact. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "TAMU-SA campus faces tension over growth, conservation," 2 May 2018

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

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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The first known use of prehistoric was in 1832

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More Definitions for prehistoric



English Language Learners Definition of prehistoric

: of, relating to, or existing in the time before people could write

: very old or outdated


pre·his·tor·ic | \ˌprē-hi-ˈstȯr-ik \

Kids Definition of prehistoric

: relating to or existing in the time before written history began prehistoric animals

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Comments on prehistoric

What made you want to look up prehistoric? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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