pre·​lap·​sar·​i·​an | \ˌprē-ˌlap-ˈser-ē-ən \

Definition of prelapsarian 

: characteristic of or belonging to the time or state before the fall of humankind

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Prelapsarian is the latest creation in the "lapsarian" family, which is etymologically related to Latin lapsus, meaning "slip" or "fall." "Supralapsarian" is the firstborn, appearing in 1633 as a word for someone who held the belief that people were predestined to either eternal life or eternal death before the Creation and the Fall (the event in the Bible when Adam and Eve were forced to leave the Garden of Eden because they had sinned against God). Next in line is "sublapsarian," which refers to a person who adhered to the view that God foresaw and permitted the Fall and after the Fall decreed predestination to eternal life as a means of saving some of the human race. That word first appears in 1656 and was followed by its synonym, "infralapsarian," in distant 1731. Postlapsarian, meaning "of, relating to, or characteristic of the time or state after the Fall," appeared two years later, and "prelapsarian" was delayed until 1879.

Examples of prelapsarian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Beard took off for Africa straight out of school, chronicling the continent's prelapsarian beauty and the spectacle of its cataclysmic decline. Kevin Conley, Town & Country, "Peter Beard Might Actually Be the Most Interesting Man in the World," 23 May 2016 The creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, consulted with the community and then emerged to proclaim that the money would be restored to its prelapsarian locations on the ledger. Gideon Lewis-kraus, WIRED, "The Blockchain: A Love Story—And a Horror Story," 18 June 2018 Intellectual advocates of the job guarantee believe their proposal serves a larger purpose of restoring the Democratic Party to its prelapsarian state of working-class innocence, before neoliberals took control. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats Are Rushing Into a Job Guarantee. It Could Be a Huge Mistake.," 25 Apr. 2018 Even that look at the prelapsarian Mississippi may not change much. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Too Much Engineering Has Made Mississippi River Floods Worse," 4 Apr. 2018 This was the Mission’s prelapsarian era, and Yamo Be There didn’t look promising. Caille Millner, San Francisco Chronicle, "For the singular Tawei Lin, art fed the soul," 30 Mar. 2018 Kellyn wins the Fishy for offering Angela that vision of a prelapsarian Naviti. Stephen Fishbach,, "Stephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Why 'Strategy Is So Situational and So Personal'," 28 Mar. 2018 Several of the year’s biggest prestige films are possessed of a kind of prelapsarian innocence, rendering them, in some ways, tragically out of step with the current moment. Barry Blitt, HWD, "How Do You Pick a Best Picture in Trump’s America?," 14 Dec. 2017 After destroying the prelapsarian world in Noah, indie director Darren Aronofsky has returned to his formula. Armond White, National Review, "Indulge Personal Neuroses," 15 Sep. 2017

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

1879, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for prelapsarian

pre- + Latin lapsus slip, fall — more at lapse

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for prelapsarian

The first known use of prelapsarian was in 1879

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a nest or breeding place

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