[prahy-mee-vuh l]



or pri·mae·val



of or relating to the first age or ages, especially of the world: primeval forms of life.

Origin of primeval

1765–75; < Latin prīmaev(us) young (prīm(us) prime + aev(um) age + -us adj. suffix) + -al1
Related formspri·me·val·ly, adverb
Can be confusedprimal primeval primordial

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

Examples from the Web for primaeval

Historical Examples of primaeval

  • But I can help them to an explanation of what became of these primaeval men-of-arms.

    Gryll Grange

    Thomas Love Peacock

  • He had begun a series of paintings on the theme of primaeval man.

    And Even Now

    Max Beerbohm

  • But in the middle of her speech she falls into a primaeval doze of some eighteen hundred years.

    William Blake

    Irene Langridge

  • The ancient bardic lore and primaeval traditions were refined to suit the new and sensitive poetic taste.

  • The primaeval serpent-worship is perpetuated in the reverence paid to traditional village-snakes.

British Dictionary definitions for primaeval



a variant spelling of primeval




of or belonging to the first age or ages, esp of the world
Derived Formsprimevally or primaevally, adverb

Word Origin for primeval

C17: from Latin prīmaevus youthful, from prīmus first + aevum age
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 primaeval



also primaeval, 1650s, with -al (1) + Latin primaevus "early in life, youthful," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + aevum "an age" (see eon).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper