pre·​lap·​sar·​i·​an | \ ˌprē-ˌlap-ˈser-ē-ən How to pronounce prelapsarian (audio) \

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 The vision, which now seems distinctly prelapsarian, was of the Web as a bottom-up phenomenon, with no bosses, and no rewards other than the satisfaction of participating in successful innovation. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "Wikipedia, “Jeopardy!,” and the Fate of the Fact," 16 Nov. 2020 Too often in such films and books there’s a longing, however concealed, for some prelapsarian moment when right and wrong, good guys and bad, seem to have been helpfully demarcated, and every day provided the opportunity to display one’s mettle. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, "The Heavy-Handed Moralism of Terrence Malick’s New Film," 13 Dec. 2019 The garden of prelapsarian innocence before the fall into global entanglements . . . Carlos Lozada, Washington Post, "Are we telling the right story of America?," 27 June 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for prelapsarian

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The first known use of prelapsarian was in 1879

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Cite this Entry

“Prelapsarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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