prehistoric

adjective
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3 : regarded as being outdated or outmoded prehistoric attitudes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

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 In the Discourses on the Origin of Inequality, the political philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau imagines a hypothetical prehistoric Stag Hunt. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Low-caste men in India cooperate like college students," 7 Nov. 2018 The couple’s find comes after an Australian man found a set of fossilized teeth belonging to a prehistoric great jagged narrow-toothed shark, which is formally known as a Carcharocles angustidens. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "North Carolina couple spot massive megalodon shark tooth on beach," 17 Aug. 2018 An amateur fossil hunter in Australia has just made the find of a lifetime: a rare set of teeth from a giant prehistoric mega-shark, the first of its kind found on the continent. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Rare Set of Ancient Giant Shark Teeth Found in Australia," 9 Aug. 2018 The long-winged aircraft look something like prehistoric creatures, too, measuring just a stubby 21 meters long compared to an overly broad 37.5-meter wingspan. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Three high-flying birds soar together for the first time since the 1970s," 11 Nov. 2018 Who knew a prehistoric concept could involve so much ingenuity? Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "People Are Making DIY Halloween Costumes Out of Amazon Boxes — and They're Pretty Amazing," 22 Oct. 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

6 Jan 2019

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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

: very old or outdated

prehistoric

adjective
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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