or me·di·ae·val

[mee-dee-ee-vuh l, med-ee-, mid-ee-, mid-ee-vuh l]


of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or in the style of the Middle Ages: medieval architecture.Compare Middle Ages.
Informal. extremely old-fashioned; primitive.

Origin of medieval

1820–30; < New Latin medi(um) aev(um) the middle age + -al1. See medium, age
Related formsme·di·e·val·ly, adverban·ti·me·di·e·val, adjectivean·ti·me·di·e·val·ly, adverbpost·me·di·e·val, adjectivepseu·do·me·di·e·val, adjectivepseu·do·me·di·e·val·ly, adverbqua·si-me·di·e·val, adjectiveun·me·di·e·val, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for medieval




of, relating to, or in the style of the Middle Ages
informal old-fashioned; primitive
Derived Formsmedievally or mediaevally, adverb

Word Origin for medieval

C19: from New Latin medium aevum the middle age. See medium, 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

Word Origin and History for medieval

1827, "pertaining to or suggestive of the Middle Ages," coined in English from Latin medium "the middle" (see medium (n.)) + aevum "age" (see eon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

medieval in Culture


A descriptive term for people, objects, events, and institutions of the Middle Ages.


“Medieval” is sometimes used as a term of disapproval for outdated ideas and customs. It may suggest inhuman practices, such as torture of prisoners. (See Inquisition.)
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.