pre·​his·​to·​ry | \ ˌprē-ˈhi-st(ə-)rē How to pronounce prehistory (audio) \

Definition of prehistory

1 : the study of prehistoric humankind
2 : a history of the antecedents of an event, situation, or thing
3 : the prehistoric period of human evolution

Examples of prehistory in a Sentence

We are learning about the prehistory of North America.
Recent Examples on the Web Archeological findings become more accurate once other researchers find different clues that match with the broad picture of human prehistory in the same part of the world. Eva Amsen, Forbes, 1 June 2022 The result is a prehistory of one of the most transfixing and agonizing celebrities of the 21st century. New York Times, 17 Feb. 2022 An enormous cowl neck dress with a peplum dropwaist in a crazy metallic fabric from prehistory or 500 years from now, and an even bigger medieval-ass dress with a huge cape back for a Joan of Arc ready to defend us from an army of computer hackers. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 13 May 2022 His chapter on the physical topography gives insight on what was understood at the time about the prehistory of the region. Jeff Suess, The Enquirer, 8 May 2022 But those previously missing bits could offer insights into human development, aging and diseases such as cancer, as well as human diversity, evolution and migration patterns across prehistory. Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY, 31 Mar. 2022 Prehistoric peoples Broadly defined as the period between humans’ invention of stone tools and the development of writing systems, prehistory can be difficult to parse given the lack of documentation available. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Dec. 2021 The occurrence of wooden figures in British prehistory and the Romano-British period is extremely rare. NBC News, 13 Jan. 2022 Human history and prehistory were doubtless full of conflict, but then as now, tribes may have had peaceful interactions—treaties, marriages, friendships—and may simply have gifted technology to their neighbors. Nicholas R. Longrich, Quartz, 6 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prehistory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of prehistory

1871, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of prehistory was in 1871

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Dictionary Entries Near prehistory

prehistoric archaeology



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Last Updated

14 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prehistory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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