[pree-his-tuh-ree, -his-tree]

noun, plural pre·his·to·ries.

human history in the period before recorded events, known mainly through archaeological discoveries, study, research, etc.; history of prehistoric humans.
a history of the events or incidents leading to a crisis, situation, or the like.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prehistory

Historical Examples of prehistory

British Dictionary definitions for prehistory


noun plural -ries

the prehistoric period
the study of this period, relying entirely on archaeological evidence
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper