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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for primeval
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the heart of a primeval forest we could not feel more alone.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • Or would the planet revert to a primeval state of mindless innocence?

    The Most Sentimental Man Evelyn E. Smith
  • Indeed, at that time the settlements had not reached into this then primeval wilderness.

    Whittier-land Samuel T. Pickard
  • For these giants of the primeval forest he ever had a loving admiration.

    Whittier-land Samuel T. Pickard
  • It brought Pedro in with an extraordinary, uncouth, primeval impetuosity.

    Victory Joseph Conrad
  • He was as one hung in primeval chaos before light had been decreed.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • The practical utilities of astronomy were also obvious in primeval times.

    Great Astronomers R. S. Ball
  • It is the primeval instinct at the bottom of every woman's heart.

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
British Dictionary definitions for 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 primeval

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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