[an-tee-bel-uh m]


before or existing before a war, especially the American Civil War; prewar: the antebellum plantations of Georgia.

Origin of antebellum

First recorded in 1860–65, antebellum is from the Latin word ante bellum before the war Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for antebellum


Examples from the Web for antebellum

Contemporary Examples of antebellum

  • I know Tom Woods is an intriguing writer, and I too love my liberty, but this is no longer the antebellum era.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rand Paul and Nullification

    Justin Green

    January 17, 2013

Historical Examples of antebellum

  • Banjos and fiddles (violins) were owned only limitedly by antebellum Negroes.

    Negro Folk Rhymes

    Thomas W. Talley

  • The subjects upon which the antebellum Negro preached, however, were comparatively few.

    Negro Folk Rhymes

    Thomas W. Talley

  • That was in the antebellum days, before men realized they couldn't oppress their fellows with impunity.

    The Open Question

    Elizabeth Robins

  • If Republicans stand for crude force, and Democrats for antebellum sentimentality, both are doomed together.

    Psycho-Phone Messages

    Francis Grierson

  • It is as handsome as their splendid plate of antebellum days, which was destroyed by fire.

British Dictionary definitions for antebellum



of or during the period before a war, esp the American Civil Warthe antebellum South

Word Origin for antebellum

Latin ante bellum, literally: before the war
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 antebellum

also ante-bellum, from Latin phrase ante bellum, literally "before the war;" see ante- + bellicose. In U.S., usually in reference to the American Civil War (1861-65); first attested in a June 14, 1862, entry in Mary Chesnut's diary.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

antebellum in Culture



A descriptive term for objects and institutions, especially houses, that originated three or four decades before the Civil War. Antebellum is Latin for “before the war.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.