Dictionary.com

Neanderthal

[ nee-an-der-thawl, -tawl, -tahl; ney-ahn-der-tahl ]
/ niˈæn dərˌθɔl, -ˌtɔl, -ˌtɑl; neɪˈɑn dərˌtɑl /
Save This Word!

adjective
of or relating to Neanderthal man.
(often lowercase)Informal. primitive, unenlightened, or reactionary; culturally or intellectually backward.
noun
(often lowercase)Informal.
  1. an unenlightened or ignorant person; barbarian.
  2. a reactionary; a person with very old-fashioned ideas.
QUIZ
CUDDLE UP! A COZY QUIZ ON FALL WORDS HAS ARRIVED
If autumn is your ideal season, spice up your repertoire of "fall" vocabulary with this quiz on some warm and vivid descriptive words for the season.
Question 1 of 10
Which of the following words means “to make a crackling sound; crackle”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
Also Ne·an·der·tal [nee-an-der-tawl, -tahl; ney-ahn-der-tahl] /niˈæn dərˌtɔl, -ˌtɑl; neɪˈɑn dərˌtɑl/ (for defs. 1, 3).

Origin of Neanderthal

First recorded in 1860–65; after Neanderthal, valley in Germany, near Düsseldorf, where evidence of Neanderthal man was first found

OTHER WORDS FROM Neanderthal

Ne·an·der·thal·er, noun

Words nearby Neanderthal

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use Neanderthal in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Neanderthal

Neanderthal
/ (nɪˈændəˌtɑːl) sometimes not capital /

adjective
relating to or characteristic of Neanderthal man
primitive; uncivilized
informal ultraconservative; reactionary
noun
a person showing any such characteristics
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

Scientific definitions for Neanderthal

Neanderthal
[ nē-ăndər-thôl′, -tôl′ ]
Neandertal (nē-ăndər-tôl′)

An extinct variety of human that lived throughout Europe and in parts of western Asia and northern Africa during the late Pleistocene Epoch, until about 30,000 years ago. Neanderthals had a stocky build and large skulls with thick eyebrow ridges and big teeth. They usually lived in caves, made flaked stone tools, and were the earliest humans known to bury their dead. Neanderthals were either a subspecies of modern humans (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) or a separate, closely related species (Homo neanderthalensis). They coexisted with early modern humans (Cro-Magnons) for several thousand years before becoming extinct, but are not generally believed to have interbred with them. See also Mousterian.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for Neanderthal

Neanderthal
[ (nee-an-duhr-thawl, nee-an-duhr-tawl) ]

The ancient and now extinct relatives of modern humans. Neanderthals lived in Europe about 150,000 years ago and were the earliest form of the human species, Homo sapiens.

notes for Neanderthal

The term Neanderthal is sometimes used to refer to a person who is thought to have primitive or unenlightened ideas: “I tried talking politics to Joe, but he's a real Neanderthal.”
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.
FEEDBACK