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Middle Ages

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plural noun

the time in European history between classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance (from about 500 a.d. to about 1350): sometimes restricted to the later part of this period (after 1100) and sometimes extended to 1450 or 1500.

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Origin of Middle Ages

1715–25; plural of Middle Age, translation of New Latin Medium Aevum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for Middle Ages

Middle Ages

noun the Middle Ages European history

(broadly) the period from the end of classical antiquity (or the deposition of the last W Roman emperor in 476 ad) to the Italian Renaissance (or the fall of Constantinople in 1453)
(narrowly) the period from about 1000 ad to the 15th centuryCompare Dark Ages
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

Cultural definitions for Middle Ages

Middle Ages

The period of European history between ancient and modern times. The Middle Ages began with the Fall of Rome in the fifth century and ended with the Renaissance. The Middle Ages are associated with many beliefs and practices that now seem out of date, such as chivalry, feudalism, the Inquisition, the belief that the sun revolves around the Earth, and a host of popular superstitions. The early Middle Ages are even sometimes called the Dark Ages. The Middle Ages, however, especially in later years, also saw many notable human achievements. Among these were the building of modern nations, such as England and France; increasingly sophisticated and expanded trade; a great advancement of technique in philosophy and theology; some remarkable works of literature (see The Canterbury Tales, The Divine Comedy); and the building of magnificent churches (see Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris).

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.
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