prehistory

noun
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 Joni Mitchell finally opens up her vaults with this five-disc box, which effectively functions as a prehistory to her official discography, rounding up radio appearances, live performances, home recordings and demos recorded between 1963 and 1967. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "All boxed up! New CD and vinyl box sets from Prince, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, U2 and more," 13 Dec. 2020 Spanning thousands of years, from prehistory and ancient Egypt to the Enlightenment and the New World, the tome features the heroic, tragic, heartwarming and incredible stories of dozens of cats. Rachel Nuwer, Smithsonian Magazine, "A History of Felines, as Narrated and Illustrated by a Cat," 23 Nov. 2020 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 out given the lack of documentation available. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, "Ninety Fascinating Finds Revealed in 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Joni Mitchell finally opens up her vaults with this five-disc box, which effectively functions as a prehistory to her official discography, rounding up radio appearances, live performances, home recordings and demos recorded between 1963 and 1967. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "All boxed up! New CD and vinyl box sets from Prince, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, U2 and more," 13 Dec. 2020 Evidence from anthropology and prehistory show that humans created and differentiated occupations that promoted cooperation and favored the survival of both the individual and the group. Mary Ann Mccoll, CNN, "7 constructive ways to get through the Covid-19 pandemic," 18 Dec. 2020 Joni Mitchell finally opens up her vaults with this five-disc box, which effectively functions as a prehistory to her official discography, rounding up radio appearances, live performances, home recordings and demos recorded between 1963 and 1967. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "All boxed up! New CD and vinyl box sets from Prince, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, U2 and more," 13 Dec. 2020 His prehistory of Ireland itself arises from a ghostly fault-line viewed from Errisbeg Hill, and the telltale emergence of crystalline rocks. Colin Thubron, The New York Review of Books, "Cartographers of Stone and Air," 17 Nov. 2020 Joni Mitchell finally opens up her vaults with this five-disc box, which effectively functions as a prehistory to her official discography, rounding up radio appearances, live performances, home recordings and demos recorded between 1963 and 1967. Los Angeles Times, "The music gift guide to get you through 2021," 30 Oct. 2020

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.

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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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Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prehistory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prehistory. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for prehistory

prehistory

noun
How to pronounce prehistory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prehistory

: the period of time in the past before people could write : the time before history was written down
: the time and events that came before and led to the development of something

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