pre·​hu·​man | \ (ˈ)prē-ˈhyü-mən How to pronounce prehuman (audio) , -ˈyü- \

Definition of prehuman

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : antedating the appearance of human beings
2 : of, relating to, or being an extinct primate and especially an extinct hominid that resembles or is ancestral to humans



Definition of prehuman (Entry 2 of 2)

: an extinct primate and especially an extinct hominid that resembles or is ancestral to humans

Examples of prehuman in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Probably not, given that the earliest prehuman bipeds were more forest-dwelling. David P. Barash, WSJ, 16 June 2021 His greed is hard-wired, a genetic inheritance, a prehuman trait that this human has turned into a rage for power. New York Times, 30 Nov. 2020 The researchers have proposed testing prehuman fossils for the presence or absence of this sialic acid. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2019 Neu5Gc was lost when the mutation in prehumans inactivated a gene called CMAH, functional in other animals. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 July 2019 The shadows of many prehuman civilizations could, in principle, lurk hidden in such subtleties. Steven Ashley, Scientific American, 23 Apr. 2018

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


1844, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1922, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of prehuman was in 1844

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Cite this Entry

“Prehuman.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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