me·​di·​e·​val | \ ˌmē-ˈdē-vəl How to pronounce medieval (audio) , mi-, ˌme-, -dē-ˈē-vəl How to pronounce medieval (audio) \
variants: or less commonly mediaeval

Definition of medieval

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of the Middle Ages medieval history medieval architecture
2 : having a quality (such as cruelty) associated with the Middle Ages
3 : extremely outmoded or antiquated has medieval ideas about the role of women in our society


variants: or less commonly mediaeval

Definition of medieval (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person of the Middle Ages

Other Words from medieval


medievally adverb

Did you know?

With its roots medi-, meaning "middle", and ev-, meaning "age", medieval literally means "of the Middle Ages". In this case, middle means "between the Roman empire and the Renaissance"—that is, after the fall of the great Roman state and before the "rebirth" of culture that we call the Renaissance. This same period used to be called the "Dark Ages", since it was believed that in these years civilization all but vanished. And indeed, for most Europeans in these centuries, it was a time of poverty, famine, plague, and superstition, rather than the age of magic, dazzling swordplay, towering castles, and knights in splendid armor displayed in today's graphic novels and video games.

Examples of medieval in a Sentence

Adjective They're using a computer system that seems positively medieval by today's standards. get rid of that medieval kerosene stove—it stinks and it's dangerous
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Sicilian palaces, for the most part, have gone from medieval fortresses to lavish Baroque showpieces, to offices, museums or ruins. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, 11 May 2022 Professor Curry, who is an expert in medieval history, is not the first woman to take part in the procession itself, as many of the Queen's Ladies in Waiting have previously accompanied her through Parliament. Phil Boucher,, 10 May 2022 Saami taught Sethi the melody patterns of raga, and how Vedic chants and Turkic and Persian melodies were fused by guilds in medieval India. Priyanka Mattoo, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 The author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, EW's pick for the best book of 2018, turns her inimitable lens to a medieval fiefdom ruled by deeply tribal ideas of class, family, and faith. Leah Greenblatt,, 9 May 2022 Christian and pagan worlds co-exist in the medieval village to which Harper retreats, providing another enigmatic layer to a story that defies tidy explanation but definitely leaves you thinking. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 May 2022 The sketch opened with a voice-over referring to Justice Samuel Alito making reference to a medieval jurist in his argument to overturn the decision. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 8 May 2022 Meanwhile, Noé keeps calling our attention to the film-within-a-film’s witchy subject matter, drawing a none-too-subtle parallel between medieval-era witch burnings and the movie industry’s historic misogyny. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 This is particularly important when trying to discuss medieval work, Janega said. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 6 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the 1600s of the earlier film, older customs and beliefs had been pushed into the margins by Christianity, but in this version of early medieval Northern Europe, that relationship is reversed. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 One is the spectacle of modern bourgeois life in Paris, a city then recently transformed from a grimy medieval labyrinth into a glistening network of broad urban boulevards. Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 In Lviv, local museum workers have built scaffolding around altarpieces in the city's medieval and Renaissance churches. Cristina Florea, CNN, 4 Apr. 2022 This medieval or Gothic aesthetic could make the Romantics, in turn, hostile to the airless rationalism and classicism of the Enlightenment. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, 18 Mar. 2022 According to Colleen Thomas of the Library of Trinity College Dublin, writing was an essential aspect of monastic life in early medieval Ireland. Livia Gershon, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Dec. 2021 Builders in the medieval and Renaissance periods used the Roman quarries on the Via Salaria. Julia Buckley, CNN, 1 Feb. 2022 Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue get medieval on Burrow. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 11 Jan. 2022 The project particularly focuses on the Black Death period (1347-1350 CE) in later medieval England, which wiped out between a third and a half of Europe's population. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 5 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of medieval


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for medieval

Adjective and Noun

New Latin medium aevum Middle Ages

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Time Traveler for medieval

Time Traveler

The first known use of medieval was in 1817

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Medieval.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for medieval


variants: also mediaeval \ ˌmē-​dē-​ˈē-​vəl , ˌme-​ \

Kids Definition of medieval

: of or relating to the Middle Ages medieval castles medieval French

More from Merriam-Webster on medieval

Nglish: Translation of medieval for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of medieval for Arabic Speakers


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