an·​te·​bel·​lum | \ ˌan-ti-ˈbe-ləm How to pronounce antebellum (audio) \

Definition of antebellum

: existing before a war especially : existing before the American Civil War antebellum houses the antebellum South

Examples of antebellum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like many African Americans in the early twentieth century, Fort-Whiteman’s life was directly shaped by the atrocities of the antebellum South. The New Yorker, 18 Oct. 2021 New Orleans was the largest slave market in the United States during the antebellum period, a place where human beings were trafficked citywide, from public plazas to private homes, hotels, and commercial arcades. Eric Klinenberg, The New York Review of Books, 22 Oct. 2020 Business is ramping up nicely, Lewis says, thanks largely to white-collar business travelers and wedding parties drawn to Selma’s antebellum mansions. al, 31 Aug. 2021 If there are any wisps of nostalgia still clinging to antebellum life, any presumptions of honor still adhering to the Old South, they are burned away by the torch of Jeffers’s prose. Washington Post, 23 Aug. 2021 Douglass’s fight against antebellum timidity took courage and purpose from an understanding of history in which radical change was possible. Matthew Karp, Harper's Magazine, 22 June 2021 Directed by Barry Jenkins, the series follows the odyssey of a young fugitive slave, Cora, through the grotesque cosmos of an America warped by antebellum slavery. Fergus M. Bordewich, WSJ, 4 June 2021 Randall, played by newcomer Thuso Mbedu, leaves the antebellum South in search of the Underground Railroad which, in Whitehead's alternate timeline, is an actual railroad complete with conductors and engineers. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, 1 May 2021 The site hosts re-enactments and other living-history events for families and school groups learning about life in the antebellum South. Lori Lawing, WSJ, 10 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antebellum.' 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 antebellum

1826, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for antebellum

Latin ante bellum before the war

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The first known use of antebellum was in 1826

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Antebellum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of antebellum

: occurring in the southern U.S. during the time before the American Civil War

More from Merriam-Webster on antebellum

Nglish: Translation of antebellum for Spanish Speakers


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