trog·​lo·​dyte ˈträ-glə-ˌdīt How to pronounce troglodyte (audio)
: a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
: a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes
troglodytic adjective

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").

Example Sentences

a political troglodyte who didn't have a grasp of the concerns of young voters
Recent Examples on the Web Anyone who questioned its pandemic policies was branded a sociopath and a troglodyte. Gabrielle Bauer, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 So far this year, the carlike Toyota Highlander is outselling its troglodyte sibling, the 4Runner, at a rate of about two to one. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 16 Dec. 2021 Every troglodyte pushing baby-step solutions to a Biblical flood. Dennard Dayle, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of troglodyte was in 1555


Dictionary Entries Near troglodyte

Cite this Entry

“Troglodyte.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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