trog·​lo·​dyte | \ˈträ-glə-ˌdīt \

Definition of troglodyte 

1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves

2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from troglodyte

troglodytic \ˌträ-​glə-​ˈdi-​tik \ adjective

Synonyms for troglodyte


caveman, Neanderthal

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did You Know?

Peer into the etymological cave of troglodyte and you’ll find a trōglē. But don't be afraid. Trōglē may sound like a scary cave-dwelling ogre, but it's actually just a perfectly unintimidating Greek root that means "hole" or "cave." Is troglodyte the only English word to have descended from trōglē? Not exactly. Troglodyte and its related adjective troglodytic (meaning "of, related to, or being a troglodyte") are the only trōglē offspring that are widely used in general English contexts, but another trōglē progeny, the prefix troglo-, meaning "cave-dwelling," is used in scientific contexts to form words like troglobiont ("an animal living in or restricted to caves").

Examples of troglodyte in a Sentence

the troglodytes who believed that women had no place in the military, except perhaps as nurses

Recent Examples on the Web

In tourist centers like Alcalá del Júcar, visitors flock to see medieval troglodyte caves, some of which have now been turned into bars and restaurants. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "The Grape From Manchuela," 21 June 2018 The spelunkers of The Descent are stuck in utter darkness below the Appalachian mountains even without cannibal troglodytes; to be left alone out in the Atlantic Ocean, as in Open Water, is awful enough without sharks. Asher Elbein, The Atlantic, "The Terror Is More Than a Chilling Monster Show," 1 May 2018 Of course, the gesture was not made without the troglodytes crawling up from the dark, dank holes. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Vermont High School Flies Black Lives Matter Flag to Signal Commitment to Inclusivity," 2 Feb. 2018 The obvious solution is to convince your voters not to nominate troglodytes. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Ethics Issues? Just Torpedo the Ethics Committee!," 25 Jan. 2018 The troglodytes and the unhappy housewives and the shallow, pedantic millennials will start to glow and shimmer. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "‘I’m Staring Into the Void!’," 13 Sep. 2017 To troglodytes like me, the writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights was perhaps the greatest cause of the nation. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Come and Take Them," 6 Oct. 2017 The 57-year-old Díaz-Canel sounds like, and acts, like another geriatric troglodyte. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "Maybe Cuba ‘owes nothing’ to U.S. — but it does to the Cuban people," 22 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'troglodyte.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of troglodyte

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for troglodyte

Latin troglodytae, plural, from Greek trōglodytai, from trōglē hole, cave (akin to Greek trōgein to gnaw, Armenian aracem I lead to pasture, graze) + dyein to enter

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about troglodyte

Share troglodyte

Listen to Our Podcast about troglodyte

Statistics for troglodyte

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for troglodyte

The first known use of troglodyte was in 1555

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for troglodyte



English Language Learners Definition of troglodyte

: a person who lived in a cave in prehistoric times

More from Merriam-Webster on troglodyte

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with troglodyte

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for troglodyte

Comments on troglodyte

What made you want to look up troglodyte? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!