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[duh-voh-nee-uh n]
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  1. Geology. noting or pertaining to a period of the Paleozoic Era, 405 to 345 million years ago, characterized by the dominance of fishes and the advent of amphibians and ammonites.
  2. of or relating to Devonshire, England.
  1. Geology. the Devonian Period or System.

Origin of Devonian

1605–15; < Medieval Latin Devoni(a) Devon + -an
Related formspost-De·vo·ni·an, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for devonian

Historical Examples

  • These amphibians are evidently the descendants of some of the fishes of the Devonian times.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • The next period of the Palozoic is known as the Devonian age, or the age of fishes.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • Devonshire is the sea county—at every port the Devonian dialect.

    A Poor Man's House

    Stephen Sydney Reynolds

  • Look at these old Devonian rocks, with their fossils as fresh as of yesterday.

  • Herein we see the greater variety and richness of the Devonian.

British Dictionary definitions for devonian


  1. of, denoting, or formed in the fourth period of the Palaeozoic era, between the Silurian and Carboniferous periods, lasting 60-70 million years during which amphibians first appeared
  2. of or relating to Devon
  1. the Devonian the Devonian period or rock system
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for devonian



1837, as a geological era, from the English county of Devon, where the Old Red Sandstone formations of that age are prominent, + -ian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

devonian in Science


  1. The fourth period of the Paleozoic Era, from about 408 to 360 million years ago. During this time there were three major landmasses: most of modern day North America and Europe were located along the equator; a portion of Siberia was located to the north; and a continent consisting of South America, Australia, Africa, India, and Antarctica was located in the Southern Hemisphere. In the early Devonian small plants dominated the landscape, but by the end of the Devonian ferns and seed plants had appeared, as had the first forests. The first tetrapods (terrestrial vertebrates) and terrestrial arthropods appeared, as did many new types of fish. See Chart at geologic time.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.