prehistoric

adjective
pre·​his·​tor·​ic | \ ˌprē-(h)i-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce prehistoric (audio) , -ˈstär-\
variants: or less commonly prehistorical \ ˌprē-​(h)i-​ˈstȯr-​i-​kəl How to pronounce prehistorical (audio) , -​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3 : regarded as being outdated or outmoded prehistoric attitudes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 How to pronounce prehistorically (audio) , -​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

Hundreds of caves are carved out of an otherworldly landscape of undulating mountain ranges and isolated karst towers that feels so prehistoric you half expect pterodactyls to come swooping through. Exploring Tu Lan Cave. Patrick Scott, WSJ, "A Blow-Your-Mind Adventure in Vietnam’s Caves," 13 Nov. 2018 What scientists were able to find showed the dual histories of the skull—not just its history in prehistoric oceans but as an object of interest in the 1950s before modern technology had evolved to its current point. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "How Modern Tech Solved the Mystery Behind This Ancient Reptile's Skull," 9 Jan. 2019 Fishermen Foragers Home to scores of prehistoric settlement sites, this nearly 100-mile stretch of river is known as the Iron Gates region, named after two dams built decades ago. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "When Farmers and Foragers First Met," 24 Oct. 2018 Welcome to the world of Outlander, in which a certain subset of the population can travel through time with the help of specific prehistoric monuments. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Caitriona Balfe Is Evolving with Outlander," 31 Dec. 2018 That followed the suspension around Maximo’s body of a flock of pterosaur models — flying prehistoric reptiles — on guy lines, birds on a wire. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "With a skeleton and megaplanters, the Field Museum fleshes out its main hall," 26 June 2018 People around the world honor the occasion in a variety of ways, and celebration traditions date back to prehistoric times. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Winter Solstice 2018: Who Celebrates the First Day of Winter?," 20 Dec. 2018 Nippon introduced or championed so many dishes that today the menu preserves the recent history of Japanese food in the United States, the way the rocks of certain canyons in the West record the history of the prehistoric world. New York Times, "The Restaurant That Became Japan’s Unofficial Ambassador," 3 July 2018 Scientists studying charcoal deposits in California estimate that prehistoric wildfires destroyed between 4.5 million and 11.9 million acres a year. Tom Mcclintock, WSJ, "Only Good Management Can Prevent Forest Fires," 17 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for prehistoric

The first known use of prehistoric was in 1832

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More Definitions for prehistoric

prehistoric

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of prehistoric

: of, relating to, or existing in the time before people could write
informal + disapproving : very old or outdated

prehistoric

adjective
pre·​his·​tor·​ic | \ ˌprē-hi-ˈstȯr-ik How to pronounce prehistoric (audio) \

Kids Definition of prehistoric

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

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