• synonyms


[pree-his-tuh-ree, -his-tree]
See more synonyms for prehistory on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural pre·his·to·ries.
  1. human history in the period before recorded events, known mainly through archaeological discoveries, study, research, etc.; history of prehistoric humans.
  2. a history of the events or incidents leading to a crisis, situation, or the like.
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Origin of prehistory

First recorded in 1870–75; pre- + history
Related formspre·his·to·ri·an [pree-hi-stawr-ee-uh n, -stohr-] /ˌpri hɪˈstɔr i ən, -ˈstoʊr-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for prehistory

Historical Examples

  • Behind them came people bearing the Nostvet culture.148 Our knowledge of Russian prehistory is still very scanty.

    The New Stone Age in Northern Europe

    John M. Tyler

  • The attempt to place this long chapter of prehistory on a historical basis has many dangers, of which I am fully aware.

    Men of the Old Stone Age

    Henry Fairfield Osborn

  • In prehistory and paleontology there is the same geographical difference as regards the rapidity of development in time.

  • As a matter of fact they belong to the prehistory period of Britain, and to test their value scientific methods are required.

  • And it extends still further back into prehistory, that is to say, into, unwritten history.

British Dictionary definitions for prehistory


noun plural -ries
  1. the prehistoric period
  2. the study of this period, relying entirely on archaeological evidence
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Derived Formsprehistorian (ˌpriːhɪˈstɔːrɪən), noun
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 prehistory


1869, perhaps a back-formation from prehistoric. Related: Prehistorian.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper