• synonyms


  1. noting or pertaining to an epoch of the Tertiary Period, occurring from 25 to 10 million years ago, when grazing mammals became widespread.
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  1. the Miocene Epoch or Series.
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Origin of Miocene

1825–35; mio- (< Greek meíōn less) + -cene
Related formspost-Mi·o·cene, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for miocene

Historical Examples

  • Everywhere these Miocene islands, etc., bear a flora of true type.

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    Charles Darwin

  • Eocene, miocene, pliocene Tuff, Lias and Trias and that is enough.

  • The first took place in the Miocene age, about 800,000 years ago.

  • The epoch following on after the Eocene is designated as the Miocene.

  • But this is not the only tree that grew in the Miocene forests of both continents.

British Dictionary definitions for miocene


  1. of, denoting, or formed in the fourth epoch of the Tertiary period, between the Oligocene and Pliocene epochs, which lasted for 19 million years
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  1. the Miocene this epoch or rock series
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Word Origin

C19: from Greek meiōn less + -cene
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 miocene



"pertaining to the geological period between the Oligocene and Pliocene," 1831, irregular formation from Greek meion "less" + -cene.

A typical example of the monstrosities with which scientific men in want of a label for something, and indifferent to all beyond their own province, defile the language. The elements of the word are Greek, but not the way they are put together, nor the meaning demanded of the compound. [Fowler]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

miocene in Science


  1. The fourth epoch of the Tertiary Period, from about 24 to 5 million years ago. During this time the climate was warmer than it had been in the Oligocene, and kelp forests and grasslands first developed. With the isolation of Antarctica, a circumpolar ocean current was established in the southern Hemisphere, reducing the amount of mixing of cold polar water and warm equatorial water and causing a buildup of ice sheets in Antarctica. The African-Arabian plate became connected to Asia, closing the seaway which had previously separated Africa from Asia. Mammalian diversity was at its peak. See Chart at geologic time.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.