or Pre-Cam·bri·an

[pree-kam-bree-uh n, -keym-]Geology


noting or pertaining to the earliest era of earth history, ending 570 million years ago, during which the earth's crust formed and life first appeared in the seas.


the Precambrian Era.

Origin of Precambrian

First recorded in 1860–65; pre- + Cambrian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of precambrian

British Dictionary definitions for precambrian




of, denoting, or formed in the earliest geological era, which lasted for about 4 000 000 000 years before the Cambrian period


the Precambrian the Precambrian eraSee Archaeozoic, Proterozoic
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 precambrian



also Pre-Cambrian, 1861, from pre- + Cambrian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

precambrian in Science


[prē-kămbrē-ən, -kām-]

The period of geologic time between Hadean Time and the Phanerozoic Eon, from about 3.8 billion to 540 million years ago. During the Precambrian Eon, which is divided into the Archean and Proterozoic, primitive forms of life first appeared on Earth. See Chart at geologic time.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.