Definition of prehistoric in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌprē(h)iˈstôrik/


1Relating to or denoting the period before written records: prehistoric man
More example sentences
  • The late prehistoric archaeological record at La Crosse is dominated by a series of Oneota village sites.
  • Among sites recorded are a possible prehistoric earthwork enclosure and industrial remains.
  • There is, as yet, no convincing archaeological evidence for tin exploitation in the west of England in the prehistoric period.
1.1 informal Very old, primitive, or out of date: my dad’s electric typewriter was a prehistoric machine
More example sentences
  • The woman cranks away vainly at a machine that looks prehistoric but the man thinks faster.
  • They are the oldest of old hat: ancient hat, prehistoric hat.
  • Without doubt, the best borrowing product around by far - they make traditional mortgages look positively prehistoric.



Pronunciation: /-ˈstôrēən/
Example sentences
  • When Leakey and his wife, Mary, met Kalb at a congress of prehistorians at Addis Ababa in December 1971, Mary Leakey stressed the importance of Kalb's not trusting anybody when it came to hominid fossils.
  • They landed along the northwest shore of the land that prehistorians call Sahul, the union in one land of Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea, which came into being when ocean levels fell and joined these land masses to each other.
  • The influence of Morgan and Engels, and of other less radical prehistorians such as John Lubbock, was immediate and widespread.


Pronunciation: /ˌprē(h)iˈstôrək(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • The two letters are on the middle-right of the stone but, more interestingly, at the top left are a couple of scratches that look as though someone has started to inscribe a pattern, maybe prehistorically, and then given up.
  • Out of 94 species of native land birds, 35 were exterminated prehistorically and 8 more have become extinct in the historical period; thus 46% of the original bird fauna is now extinct.
  • Asbestos probably formed prehistorically when hot waters containing carbon dioxide and dissolved salts under high pressure acted upon rock deposits of iron, magnesia, and silica.


Mid 19th century: from French préhistorique (see pre-, historic).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pre·his·tor·ic

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