Definition of primeval in English:


Syllabification: pri·me·val
Pronunciation: /prīˈmēvəl
(British also primaeval)


  • 1Of or resembling the earliest ages in the history of the world: mile after mile of primeval forest
    More example sentences
    • This is life in a swamp, a primeval wet forest from which the great diversity of Australia's modern fauna sprung.
    • The natural, primeval clock is the sun, by whose light we see to perform our daily tasks.
    • Genesis 12 marks a shift from primeval history to the stories of the patriarchs.
    ancient, earliest, first, prehistoric, antediluvian, primordial; pristine, original, virgin
  • 1.1(Of feelings or actions) based on primitive instinct; raw and elementary: a primeval desire
    More example sentences
    • Getting up in the mornings becomes more difficult, going home in the evenings seems to provoke a primeval instinct for slumping in front of the television or crawling under the duvet.
    • Roger Deakin, whose aquatic voyage round Britain is charted in his book, Waterlog, believes the roots of our deep affinity with water are primeval.
    • This is a very primeval shame, deeply seated in man's psyche.
    instinctive, primitive, basic, primal, primordial, intuitive, inborn, innate, inherent



More example sentences
  • I'm not a fisherperson by nature, but there's something primevally attractive about fishing in the summer.
  • We got out and pushed till we came to a house, another bungalow, that was at once shockingly new and primevally squalid.


mid 17th century: from Latin primaevus (from primus 'first' + aevum 'age') + -al.

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