pre·​mod·​ern ˌprē-ˈmä-dərn How to pronounce premodern (audio)
 nonstandard  -ˈmä-d(ə-)rən
variants or pre-modern
: of, relating to, originating in, or being an era before a modern one
premodern societies/beliefs
the pre-modern world
in premodern times
… still living in huts and using pre-modern agricultural methods 150 years after the invention of the steam engine.Jo Ann Skousen
or pre-Modern : of, relating to, characterized by, or being any of the artistic and literary practices and philosophies that preceded those of modernism see modernism sense 3
pre-Modern architecture
a pre-Modern artist/writer
… following pre-modern conventions of pictorial composition, the artist combines several distinct vignettes within a single picture frame …Benjamin Schmidt

Examples of premodern in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nature’s Pharmacopoeia Of course, these premodern observations were folk knowledge, not formal science. Adrienne Mayor, Discover Magazine, 28 May 2024 Many premodern societies were patriarchal and violent, but Italy is in many ways unique. Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager, The Conversation, 7 Mar. 2024 One of the central propositions advanced by the late Qing thinkers was that China needed not merely to find a way out of the crisis facing China at that time but also to embed the solution in premodern Chinese cultural forms. Rana Mitter, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 The show was slammed by medical experts, as a premodern birth process is associated with vastly higher infant mortality rates. Ew Staff Updated,, 29 Nov. 2023 The authenticity ideal is artisanal craft, romantically conjuring premodern labor untainted by massive machinery. Michael Serazio, Fortune, 25 Dec. 2023 Great Leap Forward was the most damaging, destroyed the institutional, cultural, and other buffers that in premodern times helped China’s environment and Chinese society recover from disruptions. Stevan Harrell, Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 The softer premodern methods of soaking up floods, like oyster beds and wetlands, would never be able to absorb a major surge in the compact space left available in today’s New York. Christopher Bonanos, Curbed, 30 Oct. 2023 Part of my aversion arises from my own hidebound premodern Calvinist outlook, in which death is no laughing matter and necromancy is forbidden by God (see Deuteronomy 18:9-13). Barton Swaim, WSJ, 26 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'premodern.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1901, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of premodern was in 1901

Dictionary Entries Near premodern

Cite this Entry

“Premodern.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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