trog·​lo·​dyte | \ ˈträ-glə-ˌdīt How to pronounce troglodyte (audio) \

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

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Other Words from troglodyte

troglodytic \ ˌträ-​glə-​ˈdi-​tik How to pronounce troglodyte (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for troglodyte


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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 Mark is a low-key troglodyte; Paula is outspokenly progressive. Amanda Whiting, Vulture, 8 Aug. 2021 Now Gove’s remark became the source of the ashen taste in the mouths of Remoaner metropolitan elites bewailing how provincial troglodytes, geriatrics, and Little Englanders had dashed their rationalist, internationalist dreams. Kyle Smith, National Review, 8 Apr. 2020 Writing critics off as a gang of right-wing troglodytes, the standard tactic of many of Pope Francis’s defenders, is not just derisive and condescending. Francis X. Maier, National Review, 20 Mar. 2020 Pan troglodytes, to use the scientific name for chimps, is one of our closest evolutionary ancestors. Susan Pinker, WSJ, 25 Jan. 2020 Their species, Pan troglodytes, is classified endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. David Quammen, National Geographic, 8 Nov. 2019 Set foot inside the amazing cave dwellings known as troglodyte homes—charming houses built in and around cliff-side caverns. National Geographic, 17 June 2019 The animals include short-faced bears known as Arctotherium wingei and the wolf-like Protocyon troglodytes. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, 2 May 2019 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, 21 June 2018

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.

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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

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The first known use of troglodyte was in 1555

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Last Updated

15 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Troglodyte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for troglodyte



English Language Learners Definition of troglodyte

: a person who lived in a cave in prehistoric times


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