Share this entry

Share this page

millennium

Line breaks: mil¦len|nium
Pronunciation: /mɪˈlɛnɪəm
 
/

Definition of millennium in English:

noun (plural millennia /-nɪə/ or millenniums)

1A period of a thousand years, especially when calculated from the traditional date of the birth of Christ: silver first came into use on a substantial scale during the 3rd millennium bc
More example sentences
  • On the other hand, it is also rather weak on the later centuries of the first millennium of the Christian era.
  • Some of her archaeologist husband's finds can be seen in the museum, which is a must if you want to grasp the sophistication of Syrian art and civilisation of the two millenniums before Christ.
  • What does an Oriental seer, born in the middle of the first millennium before Christ among historical circumstances and a culture so different from our own, have to offer such very modern thinkers?
1.1 (the millennium) Christian Theology The prophesied thousand-year reign of Christ at the end of the age (Rev. 20:1-5): Archer’s treatise predicted that the millennium was close at hand
More example sentences
  • They viewed the Civil War as the beginning of the ‘wars and rumors of wars’ that were prophesied would proceed the millennium.
  • It takes its name from the early Christians' anticipation of Christ's Second Coming, to be followed by a millennium, or thousand-year reign of peace and tranquillity.
  • But we discover that the commission given in Matthew 28: 18-20 was for their ministry in the millennium.
1.2 (the millennium) A utopian period of justice, peace, and prosperity: the people must seize power—the millennium cannot be imposed on them from above
More example sentences
  • No narrow patriotism of race, country or religion will stand in the way of the millennium of universal peace.
2An anniversary of a thousand years: the millennium of the Russian Orthodox Church
2.1 (the millennium) The point at which one period of a thousand years ends and another begins: as we approach the millennium the only certainty is change
More example sentences
  • Does the millennium begin with the year ending in zero or in one?
  • With the millennium approaching, his aim was to persuade the human population of the entire planet that, for 24 hours, they should stop killing each other.
  • As we approach the millennium it seems an appropriate time for OLOC to take stock, to reflect and review where we want to go and how.

Origin

mid 17th century: modern Latin, from Latin mille 'thousand', on the pattern of biennium.

More
  • million from (Late Middle English):

    In Latin mille means ‘a thousand’—as in mile and millennium (mid 17th century). In million, the thousand got multiplied by itself. This seems to have happened in Italian, where the word millione (now milione) was formed. In 1956 Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm enjoyed great success with the duet ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ from Cole Porter's High Society. The answer in the song is ‘I don't’, but the television company ITV found that they were in a small minority when they introduced the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in September 1998. Thousands have applied to be contestants and millions have been won; the show has given several catchphrases to the language, including ‘phone a friend’ and ‘ is that your final answer?’ The top prize in the British show is a million pounds, but the first millionaires had a thousand French francs. The poet Lord Byron wrote in a letter in 1816: ‘He is still worth at least 50-000 pds—being what is called here a “Millionaire” that is in Francs and such Lilliputian coinage, introducing the word to English.’

Usage

The correct spelling is millennium not millenium. The latter is a common error, formed by analogy with other similar words correctly spelled with only one n, such as millenarian and millenary. The differences in spelling are explained by different origins. Millennium was formed by analogy with words like biennium, while millenary and millenarian were formed from the Latin milleni.

Words that rhyme with millennium

biennium

Definition of millennium in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day Noel
Pronunciation: nōˈel
noun
Christmas…