- a combining form meaning “old” or “ancient,” especially in reference to former geologic time periods, used in the formation of compound words: paleobotany.
Origin of paleo-
before a vowel pale-
- variants (esp US) of palaeo-
before vowels pale- word-forming element used in scientific combinations (mostly since c.1870) meaning "ancient, early, prehistoric, primitive," from Greek palaio-, comb. form of palaios "old, ancient," from palai "long ago, far back," related to palin "again, backwards," tele- "far off, at a distance," from PIE root *kwel- "to turn, move about," also "far" (in space and time); see cycle (n.).
- Ancient; prehistoric; old:paleopathology.
- Early; primitive:paleokinetic.
- A prefix that means prehistoric (as in paleontology) or early or primitive (as in Paleolithic).