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[prahy-mee-vuh l] /praɪˈmi vəl/


or primaeval

[prahy-mee-vuh l] /praɪˈmi vəl/
of or relating to the first age or ages, especially of the world:
primeval forms of life.
Origin of primeval
1765-75; < Latin prīmaev(us) young (prīm(us) prime + aev(um) age + -us adj. suffix) + -al1
Related forms
primevally, adverb
Can be confused
primal, primeval, primordial.
primary, primordial, pristine. See prime. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for primaeval
Historical Examples
  • But I can help them to an explanation of what became of these primaeval men-of-arms.

    Gryll Grange Thomas Love Peacock
  • He had begun a series of paintings on the theme of primaeval man.

    And Even Now Max Beerbohm
  • But in the middle of her speech she falls into a primaeval doze of some eighteen hundred years.

    William Blake Irene Langridge
  • The ancient bardic lore and primaeval traditions were refined to suit the new and sensitive poetic taste.

  • The primaeval serpent-worship is perpetuated in the reverence paid to traditional village-snakes.

  • The Hniflung hoard is also supposed to have consisted of the treasures of one band of primaeval artists, the Iwaldings.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")
  • The yearly phenomenon brought home to the minds of the Babylonians, a picture of primaeval chaos.

  • The massing together of the primaeval waters completes the picture of chaos in the cuneiform account.

  • Another theory appears to have existed according to which the gods were contemporaneous with primaeval chaos.

  • Before leaving the names, it may be added that, of the primaeval deities, Anshar and Kishar are obviously Sumerian in form.

British Dictionary definitions for primaeval


a variant spelling of primeval


of or belonging to the first age or ages, esp of the world
Derived Forms
primevally, primaevally, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin prīmaevus youthful, from prīmus first + aevum age
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
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Word Origin and History for primaeval



also primaeval, 1650s, with -al (1) + Latin primaevus "early in life, youthful," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + aevum "an age" (see eon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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