- relating to or denoting the aeon that constitutes the earlier (or middle) part of the Precambrian, in which there was no life on the earth. It precedes the Proterozoic aeon and (in some schemes) is preceded by the Priscoan aeon. Also called the Azoic.
The Archaean extended from the origin of the earth (see Precambrian) to about 2,500 million years ago. In schemes which include the Priscoan aeon, the Archaean began about 4,000 million years ago
late 19th century: from Greek arkhaios 'ancient' + -an